Dealing with Mental Illness in Second Life

by Alphaville Herald on 03/10/12 at 3:08 am

by Tenshi Vielle

Snapshot22 001

It's always sad when someone you love takes a turn for the worse. Even more terrible is when they turn for the worse and you don't even know their real name. Or where they live. Or anything whatsoever about them that might be a microdium of truth

The only way to help these poor souls is to seek out the problems early, and urge them to find help.

The top three warning signs:

please log out now and go outside: babyfurs are not real!

1.) Fiction seems to be reality

Many people suffering from mental illness will spend countless hours logged into Second Life. They will participate in almost every activity; they will often tell stories about themselves, of which the facts (when compared with previous stories) just don't match up. They will make up facts and believe them to be true.

serial online Gorean relationships are not entirely normal

2.) Going through Second Life relationships or goals like water.

People with mental illness have trouble focusing on one thing. You will often find they are involved in a very wide variety of things, and what they are involved in can help determine their problems. Possibly, they are involved in sex-related events almost constantly - this would indicate a severe problem with perversion. Possibly they were abused as a child. Maybe this person even believes they are a true Gorean practitioner, or a furry, or involved in the objectification of one sex or the other.

warning sign: possible plurk emotional over-reaction!

3.) Emotional over-reactions.

Mentally ill folks in Second Life often have a problem keeping a handle on their emotions. They can fly off the handle on a whim, at the wrong word put to the wrong meaning, or, quite often, they will simply pick a fight over nothing inflammatory at all. You will often find that they can't "take a joke", and although they are lashing out, they are actually very emotionally sensitive, scarred people who feel backed into a corner.

Urge these people to seek help before they get caught in their own webs of despair. It's mental health week, after all:

95 Responses to “Dealing with Mental Illness in Second Life”

  1. Pedonymous

    Oct 3rd, 2012

    By that definition 95% of people in SL are batshit crazy.

    And that’s hilarious.

  2. Tux

    Oct 3rd, 2012

    ^ This XD

  3. EndOfStory

    Oct 3rd, 2012

    A quick visit to the Violet sim is all it takes to get the complete story.

  4. Dr.O

    Oct 3rd, 2012

    Wow and I have actually met all of those types listed… And Always think. “Am I the only sane user left?”

  5. Jac

    Oct 4th, 2012

    It does Mental Health Week a disservice to talk about “mental illness” like it’s a single phenomenon, for which all varieties of abnormal behaviour are indicators.

  6. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Oct 4th, 2012

    There are some characters in Second Life, that’s for sure. Here are some that I have met:

    1. The Lady From Finland, who used the English language in a fascinating way but sat alone in her “one small sandbox” apartment waiting for her medication to be delivered. Her “social anxiety disorder” did not allow her to interact with RL people, but she could talk to anyone in SL.

    2. The lady with Panphobia, a fear of everything. Unable to leave her house in RL, she spent all her time in SL to the point where she had to be admitted to the hospital. She had an endless string of boyfriends/partners who she discarded like used candy wrappers.

    3. The person who wants to speak with me, but it can only be in the morning or early afternoon. In the late afternoon and evening, his depression takes over. First person I’ve ever known who has pre-scheduled depression cycles.

    4. The guy who believes himself to be an actual Baron, a member of royalty. He will dispatch a dramatic raised eyebrow in your general direction if you are not sufficiently subservient.

    All of them are of the “lol i dont use voice lol” persuasion, which seems to be a common affliction for many users. There are more extreme examples but I don’t want anyone to lose their lunch.

  7. Pappy Enoch

    Oct 5th, 2012

    “The lady with Panphobia, a fear of everything”

    That were ol’ Charlie Brown’s prob’lum.

    You should of got her to direct a Christmas play. Prob’lum solved!

  8. Annette Voight

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Pretty hilarious that this article was written by someone clearly with a mental illness herself.

  9. Colleen

    Oct 5th, 2012

    The plurk account referenced, I know who it belongs to and I am not sure why it was used. Readers here would not know what lead up to that confrontation and so would have no idea that this was taken out of context.

  10. zasneny dubrovna

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Way to make light of serious problems just to get in the last jab at someone. It’s sad and offensive.

  11. Sylvia Olivier

    Oct 5th, 2012

    I find it pretty sad that this article pokes fun at true mental illnesses – and really are YOU, of all people even qualified to write an article such as this?

    You have really sunk to new lows Tenshi, didn’t even think that was possible.

  12. Tenshit

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Hey, how’s your family doing? Did your husband finally leave you?

    As for mental illness, I guess it takes one to know one.

  13. Unbiased Plurker

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Seriously, not only do you have to stoop severely low to get ‘digs’ into someone online, but to this extreme shows that you are the one that needs mental help. You are beyond words. The person in question is an amazing woman, with her faults yes, like everyone else. If she’s so horrible, take your advice and log out :)

  14. autumn hykova

    Oct 5th, 2012

    I think its incredibly low to use this article as a platform to take a personal shot at someone you have an online argument with. Plurk is a place we all go to blow off steam, and while I don’t have you on my timeline I’m sure you have used it to vent in the past too. What she (the “anon” example you used in #3) said was in retaliation for you going into her personal space and goading her.
    I find this entire article in incredibly poor taste, given the circumstances. And while, yes I am friends with this person – I do think I would feel this way regardless of the person it was about. Using mental illness, which is a very real and serious problem for a VAST number of SL residents in a malicious attack on someone because you don’t like what she said about you is pretty cruel. You’re not raising awareness of anything with this piece, except for a personal issue you have for someone.
    I don’t think you’re (or anyone, for that matter) is in any position to judge anyone based on one plurk or even based on an entire year of plurks. I’ve lost some respect for you and I genuinely think you owe someone an apology.

  15. Old Friend

    Oct 5th, 2012

    How am I not surprised that since leaving SL, you’ve become even more of a complete train wreck.

    This isn’t an article about mental health, this is an article about how you will stoop to personal digs on a public forum and disguise it as something about mental health, all the while making out like it’s not you who needs the truckload of medication.

    Is it a surprise to you that the people you used to be close to can’t stand you any longer? Hell, the people not close to you can’t stand you, most people pity you because it’s so tragic the way you try and be involved in SL and Plurk as if your name means anything.

    I know it hurts that your name no longer strikes terror in the hearts of ne’er-do-wells, in fact it barely registers in SL these days, you are not relevant any more. People barely know who you are on Plurk.

    What makes you think that after your article months ago calling everyone who spends more than 2 hours a day in SL an addict, that anyone would take you seriously anyway? Who is the real addict, the people who spend time making things, be it creations or friends, or the person who says they’re leaving SL for good, who just keeps coming back like a cockroach.

    If you’re going to leave and say its because you got addicted to SL, at least put your money where your mouth it and leave already, you put a bad taste in peoples mouths.

  16. Avenger Chip

    Oct 5th, 2012

    The cuestion is: How to deal with the mental illness that crash the public sandboxes almost all days and always return with other account?

  17. Disgusted

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Wow, this is really offensive.

    As if SLers don’t already have a bad enough reputation you just add to it with this bullshit.

    Plus your last dig a certain well known SLer is just that… a dig.

    This article is your own emotional outburst, so clearly you also seem to be suffering from some kind of mental illness.

  18. Liquid

    Oct 5th, 2012

    While I don’t really have an issue with what appears to be a less than subtle attack on someone the author has a problem with (let’s face it; online arguments, whatever, who cares), it’s just a tad morally reprehensible to blanket-categorize a lot of activities considered differing from her own opinions as attributed to mental illness.

    The article would benefit from more than just a few [citations needed] but even that would be a bit of a reach for credibility as I see no listing of professional certification that generally accompanies claims made like the ones in the post that ‘educate’ us in what is and isnt normal or acceptable. I can only assume that they were therefore made in jest, which is a humour variant I admittedly find a bit broad. The only thing laughable about mental illness is our treatment of people who have it.

    I’m sure many might agree (including the recipient of the author’s distaste above) that not even NAMI would want the label of mental illness so carelessly applied in a misguided attempt at increasing awareness. In the meantime, the internet offers a huge variety of ways to antagonize others without resorting to liberally swinging the sword of major illnesses.

    It’s just a thought.

  19. Veenya

    Oct 5th, 2012

    What complete and utter garbage.

  20. rollingeyes

    Oct 5th, 2012

    This article is seriously full of shit. I’m glad you paid for this one, Pix. First of all, Tenshi, you have no right to write an article about mental illnesss when all you have is some lame ass liberal arts degree – if you even have that. I don’t see MA, MS, PhD or anything that relates you have the kind of education to even discuss this – let alone the LCSW or MFT or anything else saying you can even begin to counsel anyone let alone write about it.

    And who are you to even bother digging into the Gorean roleplay. Not everyone likes their sex the same and if that’s what they want to enter in – and it’s consensual – then that’s their business. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t make it invalid and wrong.

    Pix, you just paid for an OBVIOUS and PATHETIC attempt to publicly get at someone on Plurk and a classic Tenshi maneuver. Grats.

  21. cartman

    Oct 5th, 2012

    I thought the article was pretty tasteless, but the comment you made in response to another comment was even lower.

    What a childish response to someone voicing an opinion about an article you posted in a public setting. Instead of responding to the criticism, you throw a jab at someone’s personal life?

    Get fucked.

  22. Gabriella Allardyce

    Oct 5th, 2012

    I realize your blog is yours to say what you wish, but unless you are a licensed psychologist, you have no business “diagnosing” or advising how to deal with mental disorders in anyone in any forum. You are taking very serious issues, and making a mockery of them. People come to SL for many reasons. To escape, to find ways to deal with and live with their social anxieties that, yes, in their real lives may be harder to do, or even look at those that are sick or handicapped with disabilities you couldn’t even imagine that this is their way of “getting out”. This pieces is seriously lacking in any kind of class, compassion, and empathy. Not to mention your using a so called “helpful” post to take your personal digs at another person claiming THEY have a mental disorder? Do you not recall that the plurk example in question was in direct response to a plurk that YOU focused on THEM to begin with? Oh thats right! you deleted it! So the question here then becomes, just WHO is the one with the issues?

    There are in fact times that you wish whole heartedly that you knew more of the person behind the screen so that you could help them more readily. Whether it was having their heart broken in SL, or they crying or upset because their reality was getting to be too much and they log off unexpectedly. You spend hours wishing they would log back in because you have no way of getting back in touch with them and it is heartbreaking to know that they could be in serious danger. But this is not something to make light of, or a joke out of, or to use just to take unfounded potshots at someone. Perhaps if more people used maturity rather than behaving in such a childish manner, there would be so much less drama in both SL and plurk. Truthfully? You do not deserve the attention you are getting from both your plurk posts and your blog. however, according to your own words, and your own outbursts here, perhaps a good long look in the mirror is what you DO need. And I hope you get the help and support you seek.

  23. Don Mill

    Oct 5th, 2012

    I have to do a mea culpa and admit that, lately, I have spend my evenings and weekend running around in a bird like form shooting sun and moon based rays to evil creatures around the world while trying to discover the secrets behind a newly found Panda society.

    Luckily, behind are the times when I ran around as a bear, mangling and mauling not so innocent bystanders in other lands.

    I will need your help, Miss Vielle, to cure myself from this mental illness that has grabbed me since last week.

    Please! Tell me how to get to level 90 fast!

  24. buffy faith

    Oct 5th, 2012

    This is overall pretty revolting. I am sorry i ended up seeing it. To think I used to admire you as a blogger.

    Mental Illness is of course, a serious thing which many folk, in SL and out, suffer from… as you are well aware. To take this very real affliction and use it as a platform for launching attacks against not just one person you dislike, but the fantasy lives of people in SL in general, is reprehensible.

  25. Elle Couerblanc

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Guys – I think she is attempting parody and satire here. CALM DOWN! LOL. Besides that I do have some opinions on a more serious note.

    1.) Fiction seems to be reality. People role play in SL all the time. For some it’s a non stop role play adventure and really it is hard to say if this is a sign of mental illness. BUT if SL seems to be their life and they are not a. A shut in, b. A person who earns their RL income in SL or c. a person or persons in some sort of long distance relationship that has transitioned into RL (i.e. plans to move to the same locale), I would wonder about their mental health myself.

    2.) Going through Second Life relationships or goals like water. I felt this way for a long time till I became a part of the Gorean Role Play community. Yes, I rp in Gor but I am very aware that it isn’t real! In fact, in terms of RL i think its a bit of BS – but they are consenting adults, so to each his own. The thing I have learned about (and was shocked by) the BDSM/Gor community is those who ascribe to it as a “lifestyle”, more often than not, grew up in very happy, healthy homes! In fact, the more mature Gorean Role Players actually discourage players who rant about abuse/rape issues (on their profiles, in OOC chat etc) from participating in the genre.

    But sorry I digress. Being in Gor has opened my eyes to those people out there who truly ascribe to the polyamorous lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dig it one bit. But there are those who use SL to live these fantasies in such a way that it doesn’t create confusion for their children. Their significant others are aware of the activities (may also engage in this “lifestyle” themselves) and are okay with it. Are they crazy? I don’t think so. But I do really wonder if they are in denial about the status of their RL relationship.

    Now – is the constant revolving door of relationships regardless of the SL community one ascribes to healthy? I say absolutely not. So if you are the type out there who runs through a relationship a month, I really think you should step back and question if this is really is a good thing for your mental well being.

    3.) Emotional over-reactions. OMG so true – this more than anything makes me wonder about a person’s mental health. The plurk in question? Yeah it seems a bit much to me and I would totally raise an eyebrow (or laugh and call her a total nutjob to my friends, LOL). But I have no idea who this person is though so in terms of her mental health – I have no opinion.

    The thing to look at is the overall picture: Is this a one time occurrence or a pattern with the person. If it is indeed a pattern, at the least she needs to quit plurking like that, FFS or maybe even leave plurk!

  26. eyeroll

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Attacking the author of this post doesn’t make you any better.

  27. Senban Babii

    Oct 5th, 2012

    This is perhaps the most appallingly irresponsible article I’ve ever read in the Herald. I’ve no idea about any issues that people are talking about re Plurk or whatever but publishing this article was wholly irresponsible Pix, don’t you see that? It’s one thing to report on faction wars and fashion wars and copybot wars and Linden corruption and even to take sides and be fairly unbalanced but to publish an article that makes fun of mental health issues whilst hiding behind a thin veil of raising awareness is deplorable. Yes Tenshi wrote it but you chose to endorse it through publishing it.

    You’re better than this Pix. A lot better.

    “All of them are of the “lol i dont use voice lol” persuasion, which seems to be a common affliction for many users.”

    This is rubbish and you know it. Not everyone sees SL as a channel of augmented communication or “Twitter with avatars”. Some people see it as creative narration or collaborative art or whatever and that doesn’t require voice.

    Just because someone chooses to see SL differently to you doesn’t make them crazy and attempting to use this kind of article/comment so as to present anyone who doesn’t fit into your preconceptions and expectations of SL usage as mentally unbalanced is contemptible.

  28. Tux

    Oct 5th, 2012

    I actually disagree with you. I see no ‘making fun’ written here. Nor do I believe it is in bad taste. Sure it could have been written better, but it is to the point. I would put money on everyone commenting here knows people who fit into the categories.

    What I do find ironic though is the mocking tone to GLE’s comment. This makes me laugh because even to this day the JLU have typed meetings. They ‘are of the “lol i dont use voice lol” persuasion’, and for him to mock it has me in fits of laughter.

    @Everyone else
    So what if your mental friend pointed you here, you are proving substance to this article. And possibly even classifying yourselves in the process. To the average reader here, no one knows who the person is. And it doesn’t matter. Unless of course one of you comments their name in which case they will be forever published on the internet as a nut job in the game of Second Life. Possibly unleashing a shit storm of abuse because she becomes easier to upset than Nimh. Or perhaps you’ll insult the author enough into posting their name. Either way it is just another loony in a pretend world.

  29. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Oct 5th, 2012

    @ Senban
    “This is rubbish and you know it.”

    Nope. That’s an actual quote from a Second Life user, and all of the users I described are adamant that they won’t activate a microphone. And pointing out their refusal to use voice is not a judgment about their mental health, just a side note about a shared trait.

  30. Pappy Enoch

    Oct 5th, 2012

    “This article is seriously full of shit. I’m glad you paid for this one, Pix.”

    PAID? Pix, when did you commence payin’ again? Gawd you owes me sum’fin fierce.

    Now I are disgusted too. Where am my liquor money?

  31. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Dragonstorm Steelspear

  32. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Oops, disregard, wrong window :)

  33. Garrett Ceriano

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Oh, look. irrelevant psychobabble. I’m on *that* part of the internet again.

    I find it in extremely poor taste to tout yourself as anything to do with psychology, being an advocate towards helping it, and THEN doing this. Something is seriously wrong with you. This person whom you’ve used as example clearly just does not like you. For very good reasons I might add… And I do not…several people in fact….do not. Take it as you will, but we may be on to something here that you are just deserving.

    One thing about illness is that people look unto others to blame for their own issues, perhaps you may want to re-evaluate your own before you take a stab at others. Instead of trying to find a reason why people don’t like you and using it as a scapegoat to make yourself feel better, let’s try thinking about YOUR behavior, shall we? Let’s also think about not provoking people to get a rise out of them and expecting pleasantries afterwards…

    I can’t…

  34. Emperor Norton

    Oct 5th, 2012

    GreenLantern Excelsior @ “And pointing out their refusal to use voice is not a judgment about their mental health, just a side note about a shared trait.”

    You really should fix that hole you just made in your “I am a RL super hero” glass house GLE. Winter is coming.

  35. Emperor Norton

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Pappy Enoch @ “PAID? Pix, when did you commence payin’ again? Gawd you owes me sum’fin fierce.”

    And here the true cruelty of the Herald is on full display,. Sad.

    Who speaks for the cyber hillbillies?

  36. opinionsarelike

    Oct 5th, 2012

    Considering most who’ve had the misfortune to have any kind of association with the author, know her sad SL AND RL history, the fact that she’s still sitting in judgement of others is laughable at best.
    Really pathetic piece of trash

    …and the post is offensive too.

  37. Jac

    Oct 6th, 2012

    I don’t know who Tenshi is, or any of their friends/enemies. I don’t even know what Plurk is.

    I stand by the 5th comment of this page. This is a horrible article that unfairly insults everybody who fails to fit a particular definition of normal, and belittles the reality of mental ilnesses (there’s no such single phenomenon as “mental illness”). If it is a veiled attack on an individual, that makes it far worse.

  38. hobo kelly

    Oct 6th, 2012

    I think its a not-so-veiled call to anyone invested in Second Life at any level: If you aren’t already a retard for wasting your time and money in that place, you will be one soon…

  39. LOL

    Oct 6th, 2012

    Everyone on SL is mentally ill, or incapable of socialinteraction in the real world. Why else would they give a crap about a fake world, with fake land, and people to afraid to admit to themself who they really are so they hide behind pixels.


  40. Genie Ortega

    Oct 6th, 2012

    I have mental health issues in RL, yet I fit none of those stereotypes. In fact, I just partnered for the first time in my five years on SL this past July. I have agoraphobia with panic disorder, major depressive disorder and tremendous social anxiety. I have found true friends on SL that I would not otherwise have due to my illness. As someone who truly does struggle each day with my mental health, I found this article to be trite and offensive, but I should not have expected more from the Alphaville Herald nor from the author who has a known personal agenda.

    GLE, you know me, but I also do not like to activate voice. It isn’t because I’m hiding my gender – you and I have spoken on SL via voice. I simply dislike it because of my social issues and rarely find a need to use voice. As much as I like you, I was someone curious as to why you found a need to post about using voice.

  41. marilyn murphy

    Oct 6th, 2012

    @LOL:: hi there. it might be that everyone on sl is mentally ill. actually my time in sl was a benefit to me. i learned i could be more outgoing and could deal with a lot of crap in sl. i learned about business and marketing, i learned what my own social skills lacked and what was strong in myself. i carreid this into my life and have done well with it. sl can, if experienced well, be therapy maybe? i dont really know, it did well in my personal and business life after sl.

  42. Tux

    Oct 6th, 2012

    ‘Dragonstorm Steelspear
    Oops, disregard, wrong window ‘
    Wow, GLE, did you really just name drop Dragonstorm Steelspear so any griefer and/or troll could target him. Somebody should let that fella know!

    ‘GLE … As much as I like you, I was someone curious as to why you found a need to post about using voice.’
    Because GLE likes to troll those he can make victims. You just got GLEed!

    ‘hi … it … actually … i … i … i … i … i carreid … sl … i’
    It didn’t help you write correctly or spell, now did it?
    The first rule of marketing is to make sure you are displaying your product clearly and concisely, not like a block of illiterate crap.

  43. Dontspill McGinnis

    Oct 7th, 2012

    @ Genie

    It’s because GLE is about as disingenuous as it is possible to be.
    He obviously didn’t expect you to read the Herald.

    I pity you for liking him, you must be about the only person that does.

  44. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Oct 7th, 2012

    @ Genie

    I was talking about people who refuse to use voice because it would reveal that they are engaged in an elaborate deception. When the truth comes out, as it usually does, it can cause great pain for the people who trusted or even loved them. I believe that anyone who does this has a special type of sick and twisted mind.

    @ Dontspill

    You are obviously carrying a grudge for some reason, but I have no idea what it’s about.

  45. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Oct 7th, 2012

    @ Tux

    Someone found an original Star Trek tribble and was getting ready to auction it off. There was a contest to name it, so I supplied a name at the opposite end of the spectrum from “Fluffy” and “Pooky Wooky.”

  46. Edna

    Oct 7th, 2012

    Embrace your emotional disturbance.

  47. Robble Rubble

    Oct 7th, 2012

    “So what if your mental friend pointed you here, you are proving substance to this article. And possibly even classifying yourselves in the process.”

    Tux, glass houses, etc…

    [10/2/2012 10:33:40 PM] Tux Winkler: Ahahaha are you EndOfStory? He writes like you. If so I’ll play with you XD.
    [10/2/2012 10:57:33 PM] Robble: not me lol

    I only had to scroll back a few days to find an example of you being paranoid in IMs (an example of mental instability). I could sit here for a few minutes assembling a laundry list of examples to demonstrate your mental instability to all the other readers (that time you sent out nudes of your wife to a group of teens and twenty somethings for reasons I could not begin to fathom) but it seems rather petty and would only feed your swollen ego. Despite your obsession with fighting self important douchebags you couldn’t help yourself from turning into one, please seek professional help.

    Vagabond Carter

    Ooops guys my bad wrong window lolololol.

  48. Dontspill McGinnis

    Oct 7th, 2012

    @ GLE

    No grudge, just presenting the simple truth to someone who is, for some unknown reason, unenlightened as to your true self.
    As in, the kind of person who contacts the RL sister of someone reported to be on their deathbed, just to make sure. etc. etc. ad infinitum..

    You’ll be only too aware that the regular readers already know what lowlife you are, so I’ll spare the details.

    Genie, please feel free to contact me in world, and I’ll happily explain to you what GLE and his pretend SuperHero mafia have been up to.

  49. Skye D.

    Oct 8th, 2012

    @LOL –
    – I have never been diagnosed with a mental illness.
    – I am happily married.
    – I have a very nice circle of friends in my first life that I socialize with on a regular basis.
    – I have a fulfilling, full-time career that I really enjoy.
    – I use Second Life as a creative outlet, and to chat with a small group of friends that I’ve maintained for over four years. I’m in SL maybe five hours a week max. I know people that spend far more time in other MMORPG games than I do in SL on a regular basis.

    If anyone is pathetic, it’s you…because you seem to hate everything about SL, and yet you keep commenting on this blog solely for the purpose of telling anyone that enjoys it how pathetic they are. You seem to be the one with the odd obsession, not me.

    The same could go for the author of this post.

  50. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Oct 11th, 2012

    Wow, that matches someone I used to know to a tee. (protip: they didnt play SL, but they’d probably fit right in..)

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