Super Better

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I’m either going to kill myself, or I’m going to turn this into a game. After the four most miserable weeks of my life, those seemed like the only two options left.

Jane McGonigal, of recent TED fame, got herself a concussion – and afterwards a bad case of post-concussion syndrome. Which sounds like Alzheimer’s on steroids. Which … is bad.

My doctor had told me that it was normal to feel anxious or depressed after a concussion. But she also said that anxiety and depression exacerbate concussion symptoms and make it much harder for the brain to heal itself. The more depressed or anxious you get, the more concussed you feel, and the longer recovery takes. Of course, the worse the symptoms are and the longer they last, the more likely you are to be anxious or depressed. In other words, it’s a vicious cycle. And the only way to get better, faster, is to interrupt the cycle.

McGonigal being a game designer, she made the thing she could do best: she turned it into a game:

SuperBetter is a superhero-themed game that turns getting better in multi-player adventure. It’s designed to help anyone recovering from an injury, or coping with a chronic condition, get better, sooner – with more fun, and with less pain and misery, along the way.

With the help of friends that were assigned different roles based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Achievements that tracked her progress, she was able to overcome the circle and “power herself up”.

Not too shabby an achievement for a simple “game”, right?