Friday, March 25, 2011

One Month(ish) Review

We started this game just over a month ago.  I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the progress and lessons learned, and where I would like to go from here.

Successes: This game has definitely helped me to not feel so isolated and powerless.  This is especially helpful when Matt is out of town, and I'm here alone.  It's made it easier for me to reach out and ask for help, and I think - correct me if I'm wrong, Allies - it's given people a way to do something for me. I also think a perhaps unintended side effect is that Allies are not just helping me, but they're helping each other.  The game has taken a disparate group of people, from seven different states ranging from Massachusetts to Colorado, some of whom have never met before (either in real life or online), and joined them together in common purpose.  Has all of this helped my healing? It's hard to say.  Has all of this helped my mindset? Absolutely.  I may be still sick, but I'm not suffering nearly as much as I was before we started SuperBetter.  Now when I encounter something painful or difficult, I think, "How can I create a gameful way of dealing with this?" instead of feeling overwhelmed, crushed, and desperate.  I have gained unexpected allies, such as my boss, the owner of our doggy daycare, and my cello teacher, who may not be formally playing the game but they are definitely contributing to my recovery.  Even the blog itself has been therapeutic, and things like posting my daily activities helps me to see just what I am doing to participate in my recovery - and in my own life - rather than just sitting around waiting to get better.

Challenges: I need to come up with some more power ups, and I need to be better about using them when I have a bad day instead of sitting around moping.  I also need to be better about developing missions and achievements.  We started off strong with that, but it kind of waned, which is to be expected.  Also, I need to more clearly communicate that the game, and the blog, are supposed to be fun for Allies too - several Allies privately brought up to me that they felt like they weren't doing enough, because they hadn't posted recently or hadn't done something else.  I want to state for the record that that doesn't matter to me.  What matters to me is that you're here, you volunteered to help me through an incredibly difficult time in my life, and you have done so much, all of you, to get me through this.  Any time you feel like you're not doing enough, just come read this post.  I also think we need to develop a little more structure in the game, to create back-ups for people, and to give people clearer ideas of what's going on.

Moving Forward: I'd like to work with you all to create a monthly structure to give out missions and achievements.  The reason I bring this up is that I know you all have your own lives, and more than anything I DO NOT want this game to become a burden or just "something else you have to do." If we have back-ups in place, it takes some pressure off and allows the game to keep moving without causing undue stress on anyone.  I'd love to hear your comments on how to work this.  I was thinking that at the start of each month, we assign one person and one back-up for each week to manage missions and achievements.  I'd also like your help in brainstorming what I need in terms of missions and power ups - I kind of really suck at evaluating what I need, and whenever I consciously try to think of power ups, my brain fails.  It would be really awesome to have some of these flushed out before I head into surgery (which is looking to be the week of April 4.)  Also, I'd love to develop some little character insights or fiction pieces or something so we can use these wonderful characters that you've all worked so hard to develop.  Additionally, I'm thinking of trying to actively blog more, not just about the game, but about chronic illness in general (this would be a great thing to structure as a mission and/or achievement.)

Be proud! I just wanted to let all of you know that there are people out there who found this blog, and it inspired and helped them to create their own SuperBetter games.  So you're not just helping me, you're helping strangers fight their own Evils as well.  You all are the best group of Allies a huntress could ever ask for, and I deeply, truly appreciate everything you have done.  We will conquer this, one Evil at a time!

I would love to hear your feedback on what you think are successes, challenges, and suggestions for moving forward!


  1. Woohoo! Glad we've been able to help you so much. If you feel like you need a low-energy way to reach someone/hang out or whatever, contact me and we'll hang in WoW if I'm available (usually I am). :)

  2. April 4th? Talk about a bad case of the Mondays...

    I may not have ANY idea what WoW is, but the idea of powering through life challenges using collaboration, teamwork, analogy, and humor is both brilliant and inspiring.

    Power up web sites:
    Inspiring Ted Talks:
    The Foundation for a Better Life:
    Stories of kindness from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation:
    The Buddha Board home page:
    The Happiness Project blog:
    Spiritual Cinema

  3. Yeah I think this has started to serve a larger purpose to help us all look more closely at our own health issues. In looking at solutions for you I have begun to look at more solutions for myself. I am actually starting to meditate again for you AND for me. I'm practicing Reiki again. I'm starting to get more active in learning more about healing and health that I wouldn't have before because I was "too busy".

    I know not everyone participating in this game has a chronic illness (or maybe they do?). But it might be a good idea for those of us who want to to create blog posts to share about our own struggles with chronic illnesses--mental and physical. Or watching those we love struggle with illnesses. I'm going to propose that as a mission actually. For everyone to share a story in character or out of character.

  4. I'm really glad it's helping you! Since we've talked about it I feel better about my ability to contribute, but I must warn you that occasionally I'm going to be annoying and request details for how to implement things, because I'm That Person who is afraid of doing it wrong.

  5. @John: Thanks homeslice. I will probably be playing a lot of WoW after the surgery, as I'm homebound. ;)

    @Susan: WoW = World of Warcraft. The online multi-player RPG that many of us play, and that I so humbly borrowed as inspiration for the name of this blog. ;) Wow, thank you so much for those websites!! Those are fabulous! I love inspirational stuff like that. :D

    @Erin: Yay! I'm glad it's having a positive impact on other people too. :D I already told you this via text, but I think that mission is awesome.

    @Jamie: Yay, I'm glad! I really want this to be a stress-free, enjoyable experience for everyone. And there is nothing wrong with asking for more details and direction! It helps us articulate what we want to see happen, and it helps other people who read this blog see how we implemented things. :) <333333

  6. The main thing is all the posts in where you said you felt the connection and it helped. That's what makes it worth it.

    The backup is really nice, as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I think this will allow me to follow up and be more creative.

    I do think this allows you not to be powerless, but allows us as those who love you not to be powerless too. That is important on both ends. Also it creates more good energy to be moved around.

    Also being able to change sickness and stress into laughter and other positive things is beyond awesome.