Diagnosing Mental Health: My Experience


One of the things that can stop people looking for help with mental health issues is the uncertainty of not knowing how they are referred and diagnosed, what kind of place they need to go to, or what person they need to see.

This is especially true for people under 18, who may not want to see anyone in case it means involving their families or sacrificing their ability to keep information confidential.

Online communities can answer these questions to an extent, giving some people’s experiences. But these sometimes focus on only the easiest experiences or the worst experiences in getting help.

Personally, my experience was in-between these extremes; some of the services I used were really accessible and useful while others made less sense. Similarly, some of the people I saw were really supportive and helpful, and some weren’t. So I thought I would explain my experience getting support, in case it’s helpful to anyone.

Part 1 (Uni)
Part 2 (GP)
Part 3/ Part 4(Community Services)


Part 1-Pottergate Centre Screening
Part 2- GP
Part 3- Community Services

How Not to Play Mass Effect 3 (or, the joys of truly co-operative multiplayer) :P


Note: This post works better with its associated video here or opened in another tab so you can see both video and text at once. If that’s not possible, there are time tags for every rule, to keep things on track.

As you can tell from the title, the subject today is Mass Effect 3 multiplayer. Which is probably my favourite and most-played video-game-related-thing ever. It’s not the most original game in the world, but it is very well done- there’s something incredibly compelling about the multiplayer even two years and 650 games in.

Part of the reason for this is the sheer variety of characters and powers. However, just having loads of characters isn’t enough to make a game good:  ME3 multiplayer got it right because every character can be of use in a team. It’s replayability is mainly a function of the incredible amounts of team synergy that can be created. That’s something you don’t see in a lot of shooters- even when it says co-operative multiplayer, many are basically competitive multiplayer instead, just with a few less people shooting at you, rather than modifying the fundamentals of how you play the game.

While I’m planning to put some videos of good runs up, with my typical team. I’m putting up this one basically as a “what not to do” video, and a view of  why maybe some people don’t find this game as long-term interesting as we do.

So, how not to play ME3 :P

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A rarer offshoot of a learning disability today, and one that can almost be called a superability: my topic today is hyperlexia. There isn’t too much media-wise about hyperlexia, but what I have found is interesting.

Silberberg and Silberberg (1967) were some of the first people to define hyperlexia, and they called it “the precocious ability to read without prior training, before the age of 5”.

(Side note: I didn’t actually know until then that 5 was the average age. Being an only child for most of my life meant the first I knew that reading at 2.5 was unexpected was when other people found my surprise that my younger sister wasn’t reading at 3 odd).
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Good News :P


After enjoying a few weeks of post-uni free time (and successfully passing my driving test), I got some brilliant news yesterday…

I have been accepted for a place on the Science Communication MSc course at UWE!  It’s conditional upon me getting a 2:2, but based on my current analysis of my grades so far, that should be easily achieved. So it means I get to learn all the media side of science that I’ve been interested in, which I’m really happy about.

I’ve got almost 1.5 years before the course starts, so I already know some of what I’m going to use that time for, but I also need to find some new things to do. There are quite a few skills included in the course (such as video editing for the video module, and stronger scientific writing for the science writing module) that I also need to develop before I start the course, so I’m going to have some fun learning these :)

Developer-Fan Interactions: What can go wrong?


Something I’ve been thinking about this week is how game developers and fans can now interact so freely, and what this means for games and the gaming community.

There are some situations where this ability is unambiguously good, and some studios who balance their interactions really well. Most notably, Valve. For example, when fans loved Left 4 Dead, but were upset that its content had run over the expected release time, Valve responded by producing a completely revamped sequel a year later.

And when a group of college students began making a puzzle game in 2007 based on Valve’s Source engine , Valve responded not by suing them but by hiring them, providing the students with resources so they could continue making their game. Considering this puzzle game became Portal, Valve’s method was the epitome of win-win situations.
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Participant Effects and Popular Science


As you’ve gathered from the last few posts, I’ve been spending the majority of my non-lecture time in uni, hiding out in my semi-underground lab and testing people. I’ve found the process of researching interesting, but it has also worried me a bit: doing my dissertation research has shown me there are many more things to take into account than I expected.

While organisation isn’t my strong point, it can be resolved fairly easily in normal lecture and seminar environments. During data collection, on the other hand, keeping track of many different variables and responsibilities becomes incredibly important, and my difficulty with it has almost got me into trouble already.
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Dissertation Progress Update- January


I’m now 4 months into my dissertation, which is a scary half-way through. A lot of interesting uni-related things have happened in the last week.

I had originally planned to have collected most of my data by now, which didn’t happen as one of my approval forms went missing. (My uni is good at teaching, but not at organisation- a recurring theme throughout the last three years).

Luckily, as my study is low-risk, I was approved quite easily. The delay meant I couldn’t do anything towards collecting data over the Christmas break, so I instead started writing the other parts of the dissertation such as the history of what I’m studying, the method I’m using, and the introduction. This has been going surprisingly well, and its now about 25% done.
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