Experiencing mental disorders herself, the author wrote ‘Blights of the Mind – Video game Concept Compendium’ whilst wondering how to engage adolescents in the topic of mental disorders to spread awareness on the commonly overlooked but serious issue. The author initially planned to write clinical information on the topic with little bits of anecdotes along with small illustrations.
However, after discussing with a counselor who’s a professional in the field, the author realized it was unlikely she would be able to write a professional book on such a broad topic. When searching for alternatives, she came across an artist that was creating a compendium for his upcoming video game. The author became inspired by the idea, and since she spent most of my past time illustrating, she
decided to make my book an illustration-heavy book as well. It felt much less restricting and fluid to express how different mental disorders feel like using art than using words.
The book was published online to preserve the illustrations as best as possible. The book features video game elements including the main character, NPCs, bosses, and items.10 widely known mental disorders (depression, anorexia nervosa, OCD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, insomnia, anxiety disorder, social anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and PTSD) are illustrated as video game bosses the main character, ‘Hope’ has to defeat. The illustrations reflect the disorders’ real life symptoms and what people who suffered from them describe them as. For example, anxiety disorder is shown as a sewn rag doll with a broken heart because it feels like one’s mind is falling apart and the heart is about to burst when experiencing it. The author made Hope the main character because she considered it the most important element to overcome mental disorders shown in the book. The descriptions for each disorder inform the reader with clinical information on the disorder using video game-like vocabulary.
There is also information about how to defeat the disorder which includes real-life treatment (ex.SSRI to cure depression). She has given each boss a set HP to make it more video game-like, but it is not meant to reflect the intensity of real experiences. Some NPCs reflect real-life struggles people with mental disorders face like lack of support. A mentally struggling poor NPC would ask the main character for financial or mental support and if neglected, it would later be found dead/gone.