GWJ Conference Call Episode 568

Dream Daddy, Tacoma, Zelda: BotW DLC, Miracle Merchant, Mental Health and Illness in Video Games, Your Emails and More!

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This week Amanda, Karla and Fullbright's Kate Craig talk about mental illness in games and more!

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Comments

00:01:16 Dream Daddy
00:15:15 Miracle Merchant
00:16:20 Tacoma
00:22:39 Mental Health and Illness in Video Games
00:51:29 Your Emails

I was dying for in depth Dream Daddy discussion and this did not disappoint.

Great episode and great discussion of a heavy topic.

I'm definitely going to check out that relaxing stuff thread at https://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/...

One of the reasons I love games like Skyrim, Deus Ex HR & Mass Effect is for their soundtracks – the ambient stuff as much as the title tracks.

Great episode and I love, love, love that this is being spoken about. Downloaded SuperBetter and will try it.

One thought - could it be that discussing this heavy topic specifically in an all female show be perpetuating a stereotype that men don't talk about mental illness? Should the guys have a show where they talk more about it (I know occasionally they have, though I don't think in as much depth).

"Thread of the week!" Achievement Unlocked.

I mean, the rest of the episode was good as well, though!

This was such a special podcast! Thankyou for discussing mental health, I appreciate how tasteful and respectful the conversation was.

It was mentioned that everyone should seek out therapy, and while the tone was jovial, I really want to back that up. I put it off for the longest time, thinking my problems weren't bad enough. I was also scared, and as a male, felt very fragile and embarrassed to be talking about my feelings. It was the best thing I ever did, I worked through so much! I came out the other end a lot stronger and wiser. It might not be as easy as a GP visit, but please, please don't feel afraid to book in a session. At the very worst, you can walk out and not go back.

Thank you, Amanda, Karla, and Kate for this week's wonderful podcast.

I am a practicing therapist operating under a restricted license. A restricted license in my case means that I am not yet eligible for the board certified testing and credentialing that will grant me an unrestricted clinical license. I am licensed in my own state to practice as a therapist, legally identify myself as such, and conduct therapy under the supervision of a board certified independent, licensed clincial therapist.

Your discussion this week along my own recent reaction to XCOM 2: War of the Chosen's portrayal of mental illness, has spurred me along to complete the initial entry in a forum series I will be putting up in Everything Else I have been writing related to mental health, mental illness, and coping strategies and interventions.

The prologue and first chapter are fictious but essentially autobiographical pieces that describe the theoretical framework for my practice as well as information about myself that will allow the reader to understand some of my lived experiences, how those experiences shape my understanding of therapy as well as the healing process, and why I swear so much. These first two parts will be first person narrative.

The remaining chapters are essentially case studies and/or vignettes around various common and uncommon "mental health" concerns. They will be entirely fictious but based on persons I have worked with and/or cases I have been assigned to. There will little editorialization on my part. They will be heavily dialogue driven with occasional third person exposition.

The stories are set in a fictional, sci-fi version of Earth.

The working title is XCOM: BEHAVIORAL HEALTH. - Tales from the Infirmary!

Spoiler:

Assuming 2K doesn't slap my ass with a DMCA takedown.

In which case I pull a Laidlaw.

I'm looking forward to that Reap, sounds pretty interesting.

Reaper, maybe drop Wordsmythe a PM, I'd love to see something like that on the front page.

choco wrote:

Great episode and I love, love, love that this is being spoken about. Downloaded SuperBetter and will try it.

One thought - could it be that discussing this heavy topic specifically in an all female show be perpetuating a stereotype that men don't talk about mental illness? Should the guys have a show where they talk more about it (I know occasionally they have, though I don't think in as much depth).

I really enjoyed the episode too! I love being a listener.

This show came together because Amanda, Kate and Karla wanted to talk Dream Daddies and Tacoma, the topic came together in their planning leading up to the show. I think maybe the stereotype is women have an easier time talking about and expressing emotions, I don't think it's stereotypical for either gender to talk about mental illness since it's still a relatively taboo subject, although I think as a society we're slowly getting better at it.

We (dudes) have talked about our own experiences in various ways on the show where it felt appropriate and I'm sure it'll come up again. Speaking for myself, I don't struggle with clinical depression or anxiety (although I definitely have challenging periods) so I'm less likely to suggest 'mental illness' as a full topic because I'd rather step aside for folks who have broader and deeper knowledge than me. At least for important personal stuff like that. I can hot take A.I and game design I barely understand allllll day.

Choco, I think that the stigma against mental illness is pretty universal. My own experience was coloured with incredible shame and denial and that's been a common thread in the stories of pretty much everyone I've talked to, regardless of gender. What is true is that another common thread among people with mental health challenges is that they often want to help others once they've gotten to a point where their lives are more stable, and the helping professions like therapist and social worker are heavily weighted toward female-identifying people. Many of our "best and brightest," like Brene Brown, who do really good, public work toward destigmatization are women.

A-Unicycle, I would say that therapy isn't for everyone. It's a pretty westernized concept of healing, and for many people other paths like meditation or ayahuasca or sweats or other ways of supported self-examination are just as valid and helpful. I agree with you 100% in that asking for help is something that is for everyone.

Hey Reaper, I would love to read that. I'm about 1/3 through my Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy, so fellow emotion professional fist bumps to you.

Thank you so much for such a wonderful, incredibly important GWJCC. I've struggled with "very mild" anxiety and depression as my therapist (it was mostly a "well duh, of course you're struggling, considering everything you have to deal with), so I'm never reach sure I have a leg to stand on when it comes to mental health. I would have to echo the sentiment that therapy can really help though. Brennil's right, we've neglected self care and healing for so long in our Western cultures. It's something I still hear even from loved ones, particularly as a mom, "oh when I was your age and had you and your sister, I never went to the movies, or had any time to myself" etc. Except abnegation can have some serious consequences: if you don't take good care of yourself, how can you function well enough to take care of others (in this case, my team at work, and my kids at home). Self care is a big part of dealing with any kind of mental illness, the way I see it.
And speaking od self care, I'm with Amoebic on this one: I too have my happy place, and it's video games. I've always tried to steer clear of that dangerous edge over which you can tip over and lose yourself, but they're my happy place, with fascinating stories, compelling characters, and vivid worlds... That's my thing. Others will unwind by sitting with friends and talking, but I like to curl up at my computer with my N7 hoodie and hot cocoa.

I was glad to hear games like Depression Quest and The Cat Lady mentioned. I never got very far with the latter (just couldn't deal with such a bleak game, but it was an interesting one!), and have yet to play the former. I do believe, however, that they're incredibly important game. We need more games like those. Too often do we still hear the stereotype that games that just brown and gray shooters.
Speaking of brown and gray shooters, I'd be interested in hearing other goodjers' thoughts on Special Ops: The Line. Although it didn't really enjoy the game (some of the story beats were frustrating, I'm looking at you, white phospherous strike), it does deal with some aspects of mental illness. I can't really go into it, because, well, spoilers, even though it's from 2012. But there's something there.

Anyhow, great episode, 15 out of 10, I would be just fine with Kate, Amanda and Karla taking over the GWJCC or started their own weekly podcast. Whichever.

Choco, I think that the stigma against mental illness is pretty universal.

Not really that surprising, given that considering mental illness brings up questions of identity, trust, and personal responsibility at the most basic level, making a hash of many of the rules and assumptions that society runs on.

Perhaps in a century or so when we're way past the current level of understanding of mental illness and can reliably diagnose in an impartial way (i.e. without patient self-evaluation), we'll be able to de-stigmatize it.

It's why society needs to put a *lot* of effort into de-stigmatizing mental illness - there are so many headwinds pushing against even discussion of it, let alone recognition and treatment. It's why episodes like this one (and communities like this one) are so valuable.

It's also why I don't think we'll see this topic covered in depth by the main crew. I suspect it would be excruciating uncomfortable for most of them to talk about it on anything but the most facile level.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this episode.

It seems quite bizarre that a "gaming" podcast could introduce me to the concept of emotional self-care, but it's precisely that unusual nature that makes this place great.

west, thanks for your comments, I'm glad you liked the show. I do have to disagree with you here:

west wrote:

Perhaps in a century or so when we're way past the current level of understanding of mental illness and can reliably diagnose in an impartial way (i.e. without patient self-evaluation), we'll be able to de-stigmatize it.

Mental illness, by its very nature, is an incredibly subjective experience. One of the criteria that define it is that it interferes with the well-being and desired daily life of the person, and sometimes what we would impartially or empirically define as symptoms of mental illness don't meet that criteria. For example, there are some people who hear voices and see visions (hallucinations, if you want) who don't experience those things as interfering with their desired daily life. They don't prevent them from having jobs, or relationships, or other meaningful engagement with the world. I would be very leery of removing patient self-evaluation from the process of diagnosing mental illness. What is perceived as mental illness is often a person not being able to safely and satisfyingly connect with society and that has been true for hundreds of years. Women in the Victorian era were put in institutions for wanting to wear trousers, or vote, for example. Our definition of what is acceptable behavior will evolve and so will our definition of mental illness. Patient input has to remain part of the diagnoses or our system will slip even further away from patients having agency and control over how they live their lives.
Please note that I'm not talking about people who are at risk of harming themselves or others.

west wrote:

It's also why I don't think we'll see this topic covered in depth by the main crew. I suspect it would be excruciating uncomfortable for most of them to talk about it on anything but the most facile level.

I think you are selling them really really short.

Hi, I'm totes main crew now

It was still excruciatingly uncomfortable to talk about, but we did anyway. I don't know that it would have been any more uncomfortable for them than it was for us?

We just happened to get to the topic first. Karla brought it up before anyone else did, and helped build a conversational bridge between gaming and mental health in a way that was really interesting because of her particular lived/worked experience. I imagine the rest of the main crew could have insightful commentary and anecdotes, as well, if we hadn't proclaimed that particular weekend recording time as ours and kicked everyone else out into the summer sun.

We'd planned the recording date before we'd planned the topic, and hers was so A+ I didn't even bother bringing my C- topic ideas to the table. If everyone on our particular cast hadn't been on board to discuss it that day, I do not doubt for a second that she would have made an appearance with more of the main crew on an upcoming show shortly thereafter to discuss it. I would have insisted!

You likely won't see this covered in depth by the main crew because it was covered recently. That's the reason. We seem to avoid trodden ground like a cats avoiding bathwater. If we approach it again, it'll take some time to shift perspective. Doing something different every week is massive, considering we're going to hit 600 by this thanksgiving? Whoa.

Thank you all so, so much for your comments, kind words, and feedback. The waiting time between recording and when it went live was scary with the possibility of pushback. No matter what is being discussed, there's always a chance you'll not do it the justice it deserves, or someone could be hurt or take offense. I genuinely appreciate the feeling that we did alright by you folks.

Thank you so much for listening.

Brennil, you bring up a very good point. But the trouble is that as soon as we have the personal as part of the diagnosis, we get trust issues. How do we distinguish between "I can't do this" and "I don't want to do this"?

And this extends to the sufferers themselves. One of the few things about depression that truly enrages me is that (in my experience) those who suffer from it can't distinguish between "I can't do this" and "I don't want to do this" and end up feeling they are worthless pieces of trash. It's bad enough that depression destroys your ability to do anything. But to then have it force you to attack yourself? At least cancer doesn't make you a bad person in your own mind!

Arg! I'm getting mad just thinking about it.

Anyway, I think we'll see stigmatization against mental illnesses until such point as we have an impartial tool. Part of stigmatization grows up from the philosophy that if you make life unpleasant enough for those who say they need accommodation, then only those who truly require accommodation will demand it.

Amoebic, I was using crew as a collective noun. Thus you would be "totes a member of the main crew".

I now think of GWJ as having *two* crews, with you being on both. That would make you the senior podcaster by some measures. Way to move up the ranks :-). I'm really hoping that the second crew have the time and patience to do shows on a regular basis. (I was quite pleased when I found this wasn't a one-time thing.)

Honestly, I appreciate the format of two separate shows rather than guest appearances. I like the vibe of both shows, but they are very different (the second one being a lot more personal) and I'd like them both to continue with their strengths rather than losing their individuality by mixing them together.

I haven't listened to the whole episode yet, but I've got to say... I really enjoy getting these all-lady episodes from time to time!