Thoughts On Remember11 (So Far) And On Disorder Diagnoses

I’m playing two visual novels at this time, one with Christopher and one by myself. The image above isn’t really spoilery but anything else I say after this probably will be. Also, content warning for huge ass ramble on professional diagnoses of mental illness. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

I have no idea what the hell is going on. ยฏ\_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ

I thought having played Ever17 first I might have some idea by now of where this is going (I believe we are on day 4th, and I already died once) but, I’ve got nothing. So far, I also have experienced nothing in this game that would have clued me in to anything if had I played it before Ever17. And I still wish I’d played this game first.

I think the story and characters in Remember11 are very interesting and compelling, in particular I like Yuni and Yomogi a lot. Although Yuni is sorta creepy and I don’t trust him. However, while this is an entertaining game and my mind stays on it for hours after, nothing –not the setting, characters, music or overall story– holds a candle to Ever17, at least to me. I would much rather have played Remember11 first, because I don’t think Ever17 would have paled in comparison the way it feels Remember11 does.

But maybe I’ll change my mind as it goes along. Who knows?

I’m also wondering a lot about why Utsumi is at SPHIA. Something has got to be “wrong” with her I suppose, to have been separated from her children in this way.

The game does have me thinking a lot about mental disorders, how they are diagnosed, and the validity of self-diagnoses. I personally know at least two people who self-diagnosed with DID (a major topic in this game) one of whom used to talk about that a lot, but in more recent years seems to have pushed that to the background.

I’m not pointing this out to disregard it, because something is obviously going on with them, and they are trying to find a name for what they are experiencing. And yet, a lot of people online seem to diagnose themselves with DID to the point that there’s this whole community for it, but their behavior often contradicts well-known criteria for this disorder, in all or most cases, and they do not seek help for the disorder, or even an official diagnosis. I wonder how this feels to someone who experiences it, is diagnosed, and would do whatever they could do not have it?

I think it’s good to question and further explore those criteria in a clinical setting, and regularly reexamine whether something is simply an unusual facet of a person’s personality or actually deserves the label “disorder”. The field of mental health should never be stagnant or allow its findings to be set in stone.

But it also baffles me how at least online, if someone diagnoses themselves you’re supposed to take them completely at face value even though they’re not a mental health professional and may never have seen one or tried to–any healthy dose of skepticism is seen as condescending and rude at best, if it doesn’t automatically make you a mean and unfeeling person at worst.

Playing this unusual game does remind me how something like DID has to meet a lot of criteria to be able to have that label, at least under current standards of mental health. Same for many other similar disorders.

If you feel you fit within a given label, it’s entirely possible you have something, but if one or multiple professionals don’t determine this by actual interaction with you so they can diagnose you, then whatever it is, it may or may not be that. This doesn’t and shouldn’t invalidate whatever you are feeling or actually have. It only refers to whether a specific medical term can be applied to it.

Of course, every situation has a potential exception –some disorders cannot be diagnosed at childhood or aren’t easy to diagnose in adulthood. Sometimes you cannot see a mental health professional. But when it comes to the latter, think hard about whether you’ve properly tried, and what, if anything, you’ve been willing to sacrifice to seek a professional diagnosis (I’ll come back to this point.)

I’ve been there, too. Something was always off with me as a kid. My mom took me to multiple psychologists. As a child, they said I didn’t have ADHD, which sucks because by even the simplest of questionnaires I did, and oh god, how. It was terrible, and I would have welcomed the help I have now, but I don’t think it was ever seriously contemplated. As a young adult, I was looking for help for whatever was, still, quite obviously wrong. ADHD wasn’t a trend then (yet) so finding that was a direct result of looking for very specific symptoms with no awareness of that being a thing.

The first time I did such an online test, I remember crying at my computer. I was in my early 20s. It had been a very long test with 40+ questions, some of which caused me to remember long-forgotten childhood events. I was mildly traumatized by having an online questionnaire string together so many random things from my childhood. It felt creepy, as if written for me. If I had ADHD (or rather, ADD) it was off the freaking charts.

BUT even then… I knew better than to self-diagnose. And to return to my earlier point, don’t think I was in a position of privilege for seeking mental health care.

I was making less than minimum wage, had no car, and no insurance. I sent emails and made calls to multiple psychiatrists, quite literally begging to be seen for a reduced cost. I would later be told I had some serious anxiety problems (by more than one professional) so you should know I did this in spite of that, and in spite of a serious stuttering problem. It was scary and exhausting. I did it anyway.

Eventually, someone agreed to see me for $75, roughly two days of my wages. I didn’t tell the doctor why I was going, just that I needed help, as I was also very depressed, dangerously so. And wouldn’t you know, the doctor knew I had ADD after that first consultation. Based on his initial assessment I was given another questionnaire and once again, off the charts as far as the intensity of it (though this seems to wane and come back, being the worst in my childhood –all normal for this disorder.)

Except I couldn’t have meds. Long story, but it was not possible, the only option was to learn to manage it, and I mostly have.

Knowing I have ADD was a relief in the sense that it allowed me to move past my guilt of my shortcomings and find ways to work around them, instead of trying to do things like everyone else and expecting the same ease. But I’ve never been proud of having it. I could never feel, if I were to slap my ADD on my profile, that it wouldn’t be some form of an excuse for some of my behavior. No one needs to know I have ADD. It’s a personal problem. I may be bringing it up here to make a point, and I would tell close friends if it comes up for a very specific reason, but otherwise it seems something best kept to myself.

I’m not ashamed of it. But I feel that when it comes to my mental health, my clients should have no awareness of it as it should not inconvenience them (for example, if my mental health makes me take longer with my work, it’s on me to offer longer deadlines.) Whereas, with my friends, it’s something to discuss on a personal level. My clients don’t need to know I can’t keep track of anything, it’s on me to use tools like Trello to organize my workflow. And so on. Because I am an adult.

Again, like with many other things is could simply be a generational divide in understanding. I’m older. I think probably at least half of my younger friends have some sort of disorder label on their profiles. And if that makes you feel better, I think you should do it, for sure!

When it comes to what I personally deal with (minor speech impediment, nervous tics, ADD, epilepsy) to me they are private things other than the odd mention when the topic comes up (such as this post) or when it is unusually debilitating (when undue stress makes some of my tics, such as blinking more, flare up.) And with ADD, even when I knew I probably had it, I never would have said so without a diagnosis. I’m just not a doctor.

Case in point: I’ve long felt that I exhibit behaviors that are very similar to some aspects of Bipolar Disorder. I could definitely answer some online questionnaires and get that result. But three professionals told me I do not fit the criteria (which, believe it or not, goes beyond what you see in online tests, for any disorder.) This means I don’t have it. It doesn’t mean I am not the way I am, or don’t feel the things I feel.

Anyway. I ramble on. This post should have had a ramblings header. But it’s really the game that made me think about all this. I have nothing else to add so I’ll end it here.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts On Remember11 (So Far) And On Disorder Diagnoses”

    1. Thank you, Nate. Sometimes when I see people (seemingly) willy-nilly self diagnose, I think of you. You who have a difficult to diagnose condition that you struggle with constantly. I know you’d give so much not to have to deal with it. I can never really put it into words well, because sometimes some people really can’t see a doctor, and I don’t want to be judgmental of what I don’t know and cannot comprehend. But when I say that I think self-diagnosing in many cases is disrespectful to people who legitimately suffer of a disorder (especially if you have no inclination to ever seek a diagnosis) it’s you who often comes to mind. I think a part of me gets angry for your sake and I feel it is people like you who are disrespected when this happens. But I struggle to put into words just why.

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