Nula: Butterflies Rise is a decision-making game that explores the experience of living with anxiety.
Inspired by puzzle adventure games of the early 90s like Myst, the surreal comedy of Flann O'Brien, and the author's experience of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Nula creates an immersive textual experience, an insight into the daily struggle anxiety can be.
Nula looks your way again, but ignores you ‘not today'.
She finishes the cigarette and heads upstairs.
Outside an enormous figure, can be seen towering over the skyline and peering through the window with cupped hands as Nula disappears from view.
The mix of sounds lowers to an ambient level.
In Nula's room there's an exercise book on her bed marked ‘Dire(ry)'.
Nula opens it on the first page is a familiar tool in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Padesky's 5 Aspects Model with fill-in boxes labelled:
Situation | Thoughts & Images | Physical Sensations | Behaviours
Nula hasn't filled any of them in but has doodled a picture of four fish sat at a table with knives and forks eating a human being in the middle of the page.
The next page Nula has titled ‘CBT Homework'.
The voice of Nina, her therapist is audible and her words appear in handwriting upon the page.
'You can't decide to stop thinking about something. It's impossible. We all know the thing about pink elephants. You have to look these thoughts in the face.
They cause distress because they're tailor-made to trouble you.
If you fear that thoughts of family and children will encroach into your sex life, they might.
The question is how you respond. So what? Look it in the face. Don't avert your gaze'.