The second story comes from Jake McCrone. He tells his story of his daily battle with depression and how a particular game helped him cope with his inner demons.
“You will lose everything…once branded the symbol of the curse an augur of darkness your past. your future, your very light. you will lose everything and you won’t even care”
Narrator – opening of Dark Souls II
I have always suffered with anxiety and depression. I’ve also had some events in my life that have only served to exacerbate those issues. I’ve always had one goal that kept me going through school and college, and that was to go to university. I’m glad to say that I achieved this goal. Although I didn’t get the grade I wanted, I had to do it with severe depression, being diagnosed with a brain tumour and financial worries. So, there’s that. The problem with depression and anxiety is that you never quite meet up to your own standards. So, I “achieved goal”, well so what? That doesn’t change that I’m worthless, that I should have done better.
When I graduated, I came home and had a full nervous breakdown. I barely left my bedroom for months, and when I did I’d just amble about aimlessly not really interacting with the world. There were quite a few times where mum would come into my room and just find me sitting there in the dark, just staring into space and I would have no idea how long i’d been there. The rest of the time was spent sleeping and crying. I just ceased to be a functional human being and became an entity of pure grief. On one of my stronger days, I was encouraged to go to our nearest Game and I really didn’t want to be there. My entire being was screaming at me to get out of there but I was shown to the PlayStation games by Mum and it was there I saw it. Dark Souls. I’d tried to play it on PC when I was at uni but my computer was made of spider’s webs and cheese, it struggled to run notepad but I knew about the game. So, we bought it and went home. I then went through the usual cycle – sleep, cry, state into the aether, and forgot about it for a few days.
Then in a moment that was positively elated in comparison to my previous moods, but honestly still pretty depressed, I put it in and proceeded to get my arse kicked seven-ways-from-Sunday but it was odd. I was so used to even minor trials knocking me in to a depressive spiral but this wasn’t doing that. I knew that when I screwed up and had a chance to try again that failure wasn’t the be all and end all. I kept playing and hours turned to days turned to weeks and I was focused on the voice telling me to treat it as a war of attrition rather than a singular point of success or failure, I rapidly became “that guy to avoid” because I wouldn’t shut up about it. This exercise in masochism was really helping me. I was focused on it, I even started writing a concept album based on it. the world of Dark Souls was harsh but fair it gave you opportunities to learn and the game never got easier but you got better and the world will never change for you but you can change how you approach it.
Pretty soon after I had an interview at the job centre and I told them I was feeling a bit stronger and they offered me the chance to volunteer for Mind. I had confidence in myself that I’d never had before. I was out in the world being a (mostly) functioning person. Ok, partially functioning.
But in terms of transparency I’m still pretty broken I have at least one minor breakdown every few months, I keep going back to the doctor and I’ve tried every antidepressant going. The only things they have left to offer me are antipsychotics and anti-smoking medication. Even this considered, I never would have dreamed of life being this good.
“Goodbye then. Stay safe friend. Don’t you dare go hollow”
Laurentius – Dark Souls 1
Words: Jake McCrone
If you or someone you know is affected by depression, here are some websites that provide help and support:
Depression UK –
A self-help organisation made up of individuals and local groups.
24-hour emotional support for anyone feeling down or struggling to cope.