How to Get SuperBetter

Idk. Let me know if you try it.


Jessica Gross | Longreads | September 2015 | 18 minutes (4,658 words)

In 2009, while game designer Jane McGonigal was writing her first book, Reality Is Broken, she hit her head. The concussion didn’t heal. A month later, she was still plagued by intense physical discomfort and was told to avoid reading, writing, video games, alcohol, and caffeine. She became depressed and anxious, and had suicidal thoughts for the first time in her life.

By then,McGonigal had been researching games, and how the skills they build can help improve our real lives, for nearly a decade. She realized she ought to put her findings into practice. She designed a recovery game called “Jane the Concussion Slayer,” which involved recruiting allies (her sister and her husband) and identifying “bad guys” (symptom triggers) to avoid, “power-ups” (little boosts, like eating walnuts) to seek out, and quests to complete. That game…

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battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

56 thoughts on “How to Get SuperBetter”

  1. I tried it when I first heard her TED Talk a few years back. I liked the beginning, but it depressed me that I had nobody who would “play” with me. Then I got stuck, can’t remember why, but the support wasn’t active anymore. I guess she’s brought it back into play. It was interesting and I might have another look at it.
    But right now I am in full Witcher addiction so it’ll just have to wait.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll go have a look today, I was sad to not be able to continue it. IF it still requires a “buddy” and you want an extra one, count me in! Only if you want to. I can barely remember what buddies were supposed to do! Check out her TED Talk too it was interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

              1. Ok I’ll check it out as soon as I get back from daughter’s school, drenched (I guess summer’s finally over). You’ve got my email if you need that otherwise I have facebook too x

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. Well I don’t know. I’m back on the website which looks pretty much the same which might suggest they have abandoned it. It logged me in and stuff but can’t even find how to invite anybody, won’t let me do it through facebook. my warrior name is Wind Fang if you work it out. It will soon be too much trouble if I don’t!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Okay I’m in, can you send an email invite to the addy that’s in my contact page here? Not the personal one you got. You send it under “allies” – I can’t find your addy, or I’d do it.


                    2. I’ll try! I had been trying with no luck to find where the invites are sent from and also to show an email on this wordpress thing. Let’s see.


                    3. hahah i will after this malke no mistake! maybe we can try both :D Is the johndoe email i have ok to use for it? I can’t find your email on your blog either!


      2. I liked the Ted Talk that I watched from Kelly Mcgonigal. I saw it a year ago and watched it again in between.
        She is a great speaker.
        I have not done her Super Better game but her premise behind it seemed to make sense.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beeps is gonna rant.

    I couldn’t even FINISH this piece of fucking drivel. By the fucking goddess! If they’re gonna shove a bunch of shit down our throats and tell us playing VIDEO games will help our self esteem or depression or WHATEVER, then they’d better DAMN well admit playing all those fucking goddamn shoot ’em up, rob ’em and beat the shit outta ya HOES is fucking doing DAMAGE to people.

    Goddamn it!!

    This is the same fucking industry that’s REFUSED responsibility for any rise in violence or anti social behavior in the fucking kids who play their goddamn games. NO, NO, NO! I do NOT accept one side of the fucking coin. Get rid of the SHIT out there that’s polluting the rest of fucking society before you come at ME with a goddamn fucking video game that’s supposed to help me with all my fucking problems.

    And let me guess. I’ll have to pony up funds to BUY the fucking thing that’s designed to fucking help me, right?


    Liked by 2 people

    1. I loved the rant too and I relate to it all – c’mon – the whole concept is too simplistic!!!!! We may have bipolar but we sure as hell ain’t dumb enough to fall for this new, slick marketing scheme..
      When I saw the heavily made-up photo of the sexy blonde, I’m sorry, but…..I didn’t have high hopes. No offense to anyone reading who wears a shitload of kohl black eyeliner and dyes her hair blonde – I bet you look great!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks, Dyane. I USED to be a dyed blonde with kohl black eyeliner. Now I’m a dyed raven haired woman who doesn’t wear make-up. And I DO credit my dark hair for my ability to rant properly. ;)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I like kohl eyeliner! I used to use it! :))) I love all colors of hair – even unusual ones.
          If I need some help with a rant, I’m coming to you! (I do love to write a good rant…’s so cathartic!)

          Liked by 1 person

      2. i can understand your skepticism. try looking past the make-up and you might see a beautiful person. try looking past a simple game and you might find a tool that will help you in your process. the game does have quite a bit of scientific backing on why it works, and has worked for many people.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I played it over a year and it helped to be balance to my life. then, despair kicked in. I hadn’t truly experienced true despair before. hope drained from life. i had no hope that anything could help me, even a silly game designed to bring me out of the depths of despair.

    that being said, and feeling better, i have thought about kicking up the game again. if you your invite me to be part of the journey, “Super Stephen!” maybe that would be the push to get me started again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry you’ve suffered when the despair kicked in- that sounds trite, but believe me, I am sorry you felt so horrible.

      That said, I just looked at your blog’s “about” page and it states that you don’t have bipolar disorder (which is GOOD! I have it and I consider it evil) but you didn’t want to change your blog name?

      Am I incorrect in that supposition? I’m curious. p.s. your dog is adorable

      Liked by 1 person

      1. i went to my first psychiatrist appointment the end of the appointment and he seemingly gave me a diagnosis of bipolar. by the he next time I say him he said I a mmdd ( multiple major depressive disorder (my term)) which is often best treated as if it where bipolar. i’m probably recognized as bipolar by docs but don’t have the mania. by that time, i felt that the blog was well enough along and decided to not change the name.

        i sense you think that bipolar is somehow worse than depression. please keep in mind while depression and bipolar are different they both have the potential to suck and be debilitating for the person facing either.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I don’t think bipolar is worse than depression; not at all. I would never tell someone that because it’s incredibly insulting, and I’m sorry if you got that impression. As a mental health advocate who runs free support groups for people with mood disorders of bipolar, depression , GAD, oCD, PTSD et al., and who founded the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) chapter of my county, I’d never assume one mood disorder is worse than another. It’s not a contest.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Dear Blahpolar, are you reading this thread? I’m curious. Do you recall if there’s a form of bipolar that has absolutely not a tinge of hypomania or mania in it whatsoever?

          I can’t remember and I know you could solve this mystery. The DBSA page has clear descriptions of the different forms (see link below) and the only class that I *think* has wiggle room is the Bipolar NOS (not otherwise specified); in other words if you have NOS you don’t need to have any form of mania to be dx’d with bipolar

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Those are DSM iv criteria, DSM 5 shifted bipolar disorders out of the mood disorder chapter and into one of its own. There’s no longer a bipolar nos diagnosis. Bipolarsojourner’s pdoc must’ve had reasons for the opinion though. There have been a lot of compare and contrast studies of bipolar and unipolar, I’m gonna link you to one that’s not completely impenetrable (in other words, one my brain can grasp). I feel that I need to read more about how unipolar cycles too. This is all just quickly off the top of my head, I’ll come and natter with you both after therapy (o joy).


            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thank youuuuuuuu – I knew you’d come through!!!!!! I wish that I could come up with such things quickly & off the top of my noggin! ;) You’re probably 100% alien.

              Liked by 1 person

    2. I do want to give it a go, I have a natural antipathy to things like it, which makes me think I need to take a closer look, so that if I’m gonna rant, it’ll be an informed one. Idk how to link up there apart from by email, but if you do, my nick there is brokeback. Otherwise, shoot me a mail via my contact form and we’ll sort it that way.


  4. for those considering joining the game; as an inactive play i recently received a email message from super better. they stated that they had been without a developer for 2 years but had recently signed on a developer. they know the android game leaves a lot to be desired and they will be working to bring that up to snuff with the other platforms. not only that, they will have the opportunity to respond to bugs and feature requests, unlike the 2 interim years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d ask anyone with bipolar disorder who is considering using this game if she exercises consistently for mood disorder stability purposes. If she does, great – go for it with the game.

      If not, I can say with authority (I have bipolar disorder and I’m an A.C.E.-certified personal trainer & exercise researcher/author) that your time would be MUCH better allocated to working out according to the acclaimed psychiatrist Dr.Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s specifications.

      His suggestions are simple, but they work to improve bipolar disorder mood stability.

      Ever since I began following this acclaimed psychiatrist’s advice, which he uses himself, it totally changed my life for the better:

      Here’s Dr. Alsuwaidan’s blog post about his guidelines and rationale. I share this post with everyone and blogged about it for the International Bipolar Foundation. I’m excerpting it my book “Birth of a New Brain” to be published in 2016 by Post Hill Press with an afterword by Blahpolar.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mean, this exercise stuff is so powerful that when I was tempted to join $cientology, blah, to get that free video and keychain???? – I worked out like a fiend while watching a Top Gun video followed by Pulp Fiction and I felt MUCH better and was able to give away my L. Ron Hubbard library!!!!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. i see no problem in supporting something you are trained in. let’s face it, dbt works for some people and not for others, cbt works for some people and not for others. act works for some people and not for other. likely, ace works for some people and not for others. this would be independent of diagnosis.

        i’m sure doctor alsuwaidan has studies that shows that ace works better than other treatments. there is probably one study missing, that it works for everyone. that would be too good to be true.

        i see no harm in someone trying super better! and if it works for them, let them make it a part of their regimen. that doesn’t matter if they have bipolar, depression, a brain injury, or just trying to make it through life.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Good points.just f.y.I. Dr. Alsuwaidan has nothing to do with the. American Council/ACE certification I have. His ISBD webinar about exercise for mood stability could help almost anyone. You can listen to it for free at the International Society for Bipolar Disorders website. Have a good night,

          Liked by 1 person

          1. ah, there’s another one, exercise. that too, works for some people and not others. I fit in the latter group, at least for now. for months, at the beginning of my last cycle I took in excess of an hour walk and felt no different at the end compare to the beginning of the walk. doctor alsuwaidan maybe has a different regimen that improves the likelihood that exercise will work. since I know nothing about his plan, i can’t speak to that .

            and here’s the one last crazy thing; who’s to say that exercise won’t bring me out of my next cycle. cbt almost single-handedly brought me out of my cycle one back. in my last cycle, cbt proved to be totally ineffective.

            Liked by 1 person

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