Secondlife.com provides a virtual world for avatars of any kind to adventure in and around a world that is unlike their real one. This Second Life experience was one of my first virtual reality experiences on a computer and I found myself getting more engaged than I had originally thought.
Instructed to go to virtual hallucinations island this place made the audio and visual stimulants match those of an individual with schizophrenia, a long-term mental disorder that breaks down thoughts and reality.
Description– Transported to a piece of land that had a house on it you first had to attach the hallucinations badge onto your avatar, which immediately put audio into my headphones of people telling me to grab the gun and kill him. The audio stimuli was very sudden and didn’t stop, even when there was a button saying ‘Stop Voices’. Multiple voices saying that I’m worthless and am ruining things, but then it would switch to someone calmly talking about an entirely different topic. Visually it was interesting. I found myself laughing a couple of times because of the things that would happen if I stayed in the hallway for too long or looked at a newspaper for more than five seconds. Words would start appearing clearer than others and the words were always ones like ‘Death’ or ‘Don’t Care’.
Feelings– My personal reactions to this experience were that I would never wish this on anyone. Personally, I have so many other things going on in my head that when these people started telling me to grab a gun or that I am worthless I can easily see how someone would start believe them or following the actions it demanded. I liked the experience as a whole, but the voices were probably the worst part for me.
Evaluation– Being that this was one of my first computer virtual reality experiences I thought it was pretty interesting and let me really immerse myself into what it would be like with a mental disorder like that. The actual navigation for the game was pretty straight forward and easy to follow, and although there were sometimes where I was flying above the ceiling for no reason, I feel that this experience was pretty much what I had expected.
Analysis– Through this hallucinations experience I have learned that schizophrenia is not just people talking in your head and things happening that didn’t really happen. Its a constant battle in one person’s head between what is real and what is made up. I sometimes watch those shows that follow the life of a person with mental disorders and when someone has schizophrenia they are normally so out of touch with what is happening, so much more than the others. This exercise helped me understand a little of more the reasons why. It helped me gain a different perspective of what this person would have to go through on a daily basis just to get to the next day and do it all over again. They are so out of touch with reality because there is no reality for them, they are living in their own virtual reality that get made up everyday inside their head.