The Disorder Game


We experts of the mental health profession have been engaging in a little sport of which the general public may be unaware. (The general public being generally unaware of most things, their unawareness of this is a safe bet.) Most people think of psychiatric experts as something short of fun loving gamesters, but in this view they are sorely mistaken. We may not have bungee jumping at the conventions, but we know how to have fun.


The sport to which I refer began with the updating of the catalog of mental disorders. We used to say “mental diseases,” but we scrapped that in favor of “disorder” since it is so much more descriptive, the idea being that people have their mental blocks stacked in the wrong order. Every few years we experts meet to update the catalog to include our latest inventions in disorders, and somewhere along the line we decided to make it a game to see who could come up with the cleverest entries.


The game has brought out the creativity of some of our members to such a degree that we now include in the catalog not only Caffeine Related Disorder and Sibling Rivalry Disorder, but also the ingenious Upset Because the Garbage Bag Breaks and Spills Coffee Grounds and Eggshells All Over the Floor Disorder, Dislike of Pregnant Hamsters in Cages Disorder, and a host of other equally clever entries.


Only a short way into the game we discovered that the voting resulted in some proposed entries being excluded, and seeing the unfairness of this, we changed the rules of the game slightly. We now all vote for everything.


This had the advantage of making everyone a winner. It also alleviated the necessity of sitting at the meeting listening to some frightful bore carrying on about the effects of formaldehyde on hyperactive guinea pigs. The simplicity of voting for everything freed up time that could be far better spent in the hotel’s cocktail lounge.


One unfortunate result of the rule change is that the catalog of disorders is now the size of a Dempsey Dumpster and requires a forklift to move, but otherwise it was a positive change.


Another seemingly unfortunate consequence of the whole process is the effect it has had on mental hypochondriacs. Whereas such people used to find it relatively simple to select a disease (pardon me, a disorder), they now have such a vast array of choices that they become thoroughly befuddled.


Such have been known to attempt looking into the catalog themselves and have even hired forklifts for the purpose. The strain of this is far too great (few are even trained in forklift operation), and they find themselves simply gibbering over the list and drooling on the pages.


Some have even renounced hypochondria as simply too complicated to be maintained.

This, however, has had the fortunate consequence of presenting a new entry for the catalog, Hypochondriac’s Disorder Confusion Denial Disorder, so all in all, no harm done.