Super Better!

 

Just over a week ago I was having a beautiful, relaxing Saturday keeping my boyfriend company while he cleaned out his garage.  (It was relaxing for me, as he was doing the work and I was just laying outside in the California sun, enjoying a cold drink and being nosey looking at all his old boxed up garage secrets!)

That glorious afternoon I leaned over to look at a large photo sitting on the ground.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the dog running towards me to lick my face. The licking was of course out of love.  And, while I’m a fully confessed cat woman (it’s a good thing I don’t know how to knit), I do love this dog with every ounce of me. However, I’m not a fan of face licking, especially when startled. So out of complete reflex, I stood up quickly, completely forgot a bar height table was behind me, and I SLAMMED the back of my head into the table.

No blood was shed.  No tears were shed.

I laughed while whining in pain.

Ice packs were made by the bf and applied.

Now, I’m pretty sure that in the past I’ve hit my head a number of times and been totally fine.  But at about 5 months after major brain surgery, I think I’m still a bit fragile.  I’ve been having migraines and major light sensitivity. I’m currently THAT GIRL who wears sunglasses while working on the computer. (The darkest ones I own happen to be in the shape of sideways hearts, so at least I’m stylin’.)

I’ve talked to both my neurologist and my oncologist and we’re working on treatment and observation and might adjust the timing of my MRI.

BUT

This brings me to my ACTUAL POINT!!

A great friend and “brain buddy” sent me this TedTalk by Jane McGonigal called “The Game that can give you 10 extra years of life”.


I am so fascinated/obsessed/amazed/in awe of Ms. McGonigal.

Basically, she’s a video game developer.  She sustained a concussion herself and had strict resting recovery restriction for several weeks.  Basically she was on bed rest with very little tv or video games due to the bright lights. Because of this, she found herself feeling lonely.  She says she once wrote “If I can’t think, who am I?”  She was dealing with suicidal ideations. In talking with her doctors, she found out that these feelings were slowing down the healing process.

Because of this, she decided to create a game for herself.  In this game, she fashioned herself after Buffy the Vampire Slayer and called herself Jane the Concussion Slayer.  She brought in Allies (her friends). This allowed her friends to have something specific  to do with specific goals in order to help her. It gave her a chance find the Bad Guys – the triggers that made her feel worse – and find ways to avoid them.

Basically, this game she created had built in goals, and these goals were easily achievable. So it became much easier to feel optimistic. It also created a way for her to feel more connected to friends and family.

Once Jane felt better, she realized that this game could help others – not only those with suicidal ideation, or those recovering from a concussion, but people with a variety of conditions, from diabetes to cancer.

I’m always fascinated with hearing about how people deal with difficult situations, especially when it involves something they love.  I’ve been involved in art and music and dance therapy.  It’s amazing to hear about someone so involved in video games, taking that passion and turning it into their own type of therapy.

So I’m trying out this game!  It’s called Super Better found at http://www.superbetter.com

Come try it out with me!

Additional video about Jane McGonigal’s experience and game:

 

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About Ashley Myers-Turner

Los Angeles based photographer & videographer, health care advocate, and chocolate dipped twizzler enthusiast.

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