Dark Souls Helped Me Cope With Suicidal Depression


The character of Razumihin, in Dovstoevsky’s
Crime and Punishment, states that ‘Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a
large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness
on earth.” Hi, I’m Hamish Black and this is Writing On Games. From Soft’s Dark Souls,
due to a number of factors, has spawned its own legacy as a piece of media that revels
in the grim and macabre – a grand guignol of the developer’s sadism and the player’s
masochism. This is due in large part to the way the game was marketed upon its release
– ‘PREPARE TO DIE’ graced almost every piece of promotional material associated with the
game, as well as becoming the nomenclature of the complete edition of Dark Souls which
included the Artorias DLC. Its unflinching sense of constantly escalating challenge also
played a part in this – the game was described in almost every review as one of the most
difficult games made in recent years, and many likened it to the often sadistic difficulty
of many older games (whilst also forgetting that those older games, even on consoles,
were still very much in the mindset of the arcade, where the goal was to extract as much
money from gullible infants as possible). In any case, it is clear that many regard
Dark Souls’ legacy as one of unrelenting challenge and intimidation, of the macabre and the miserable,
of death. Are they correct in asserting this view of the game? You could certainly make
an argument for that case, but to do so I believe would be reductive. In fact, I would
go as far as to argue that Dark Souls is actually about as uncompromising a celebration of life
as the medium of games has produced up until this point. Woah woah woah, slow down there Hamish. Where
are you coming from with this? Well, this (totally anecdotal) argument comes from a
very personal place. In fact, it comes from my own experiences wallowing in what I imagined
to be the endless sadness of life and imagining my own ideas of death. That is to say, they
come from my experiences with severe mental illness – specifically major depression, anxiety
and to a lesser extent OCD. For context, I have dealt with these issues for many years
and they have driven me to some incredibly dark places in my time, including multiple
attempts on my own life. Depression robs you of your rationality, your personality and
your energy, and without those your brain develops a pretty warped view of what it means
to exist, and a fairly nihilistic approach to existence, as laughable as it might seem
to some, is almost inevitable in cases like this. Why am I talking about this? Because I believe
that my experiences with suicidal depression and my experiences with Dark Souls resonate
with each other in some pretty odd ways. Not only does depression warp your ideas of what
it means to exist, surviving something as traumatic as suicide attempts and deciding
to carry on necessitate viewing life in a totally different way. Just like during depressive
episodes what other people might view as totally innocuous you might view as a threat to your
very being, after surviving your own irrational urges to end your own life and coming out
the other side of that, it’s impossible to view life and death in quite the same way
as you did before, and that way still might not line up with what is considered ‘normal’.
For me, I moved into a state of what I like to call affirmative nihilism – retaining the
feeling of relative insignificance, whilst also feeling freed of the burden of having
to live my life for anyone else as a direct result. How does this relate to my experiences with
Dark Souls then? Well, in short, I would say that the revelation that occurred after my
last suicide attempt regarding my views on life and death were reinforced by the way
Dark Souls tackles the ideas of life and death. Dark Souls came into my life at just the right
time and I would argue minimised the very prevalent risk of relapse that comes from
a traumatic experience such as suicide. You see, every element of Dark Souls’ design resonated
with me in a way that at first fell in line with the surface legacy of the game that I
mentioned at the start. However, as time went on and I moved from my point of being suicidally
depressed to realising that I wanted to get better and live, I realised that the complexities
of choosing whether or not to end my own life were entirely reflected by the duality of
almost everything in the game. This was as revelatory an experience to me as the post-suicidal
realisation of wishing to perpetuate my own existence, and I would argue played a substantial
part in teaching me how to get better and also in reinforcing my newfound ideas regarding
life and death. In short, Dark Souls helped convince me that it was alright to keep fighting
through what I originally saw as unbeatable, and has led me to a point where I am making
good progress in tackling my illnesses. How did it do this? Well, people talk all
the time about the harsh but fair nature of Dark Souls’ difficulty, but arguably this
extends to not only the visceral nature of the combat, but the narrative and lore and
the world design, right down to the mechanics of life and death within the game. What’s
key, at least to me however, is that ultimately Dark Souls is not a game that wants to beat
its players senseless – it thrives on player triumph. It wants you to succeed – you just
need to learn the rules and how to work around them. For me, the idea that a game was finally
representing what I perceived to be the harshness of the world I was living in (despite its
fantasy aesthetic), yet was simultaneously urging me to fight through it, was quite refreshing. Depression, and the lack of energy to do things
it creates, arguably leave most with quite a bit of spare time. At my lowest point I
was jobless, broke, had just graduated from university with a degree I knew wasn’t going
to get me anywhere, I had shut myself off from many of those closest to me and was becoming
more and more of a recluse thanks to the depression. During this time, understandably, I devoted
a lot of my time to video games. They helped me feel connected to at least some form of
universe or world, they allowed me to become immersed in interesting narratives, or they
allowed me to maintain some form of reflexes with a minimal expenditure of energy (which,
when you are depressed, becomes the most valuable of commodities). However, I couldn’t shake
the feeling that these games I was playing, no matter how grandiose their narratives and
writing seemed in their quest to show us the human condition, they almost always failed
by placing us at the centre of the action. Even if the centre of the action is a place
where you have to conserve ammo or healing items or make choices regarding who gets food
and who doesn’t for example, you are at the centre. You decide these things that affect
others around you. Whilst I get that sometimes this can be used to great effect, I never
felt that these were actually representative of the situation I found myself in. They automatically
place the player in a position of empowerment, and as I talked about in my video on player
agency, sometimes that is not the way to truly immerse the player in your world. Regardless
of your views on life, we as individuals are largely insignificant, and that’s an important
thing that doesn’t often get reflected in games due to the inherent need for the player
to control and be at the centre of the action. However, Dark Souls manages this, and with
a great deal of panache. It places the player in a position of relative insignificance,
in a world that isn’t just hostile to the player, but crucially indifferent to them.
The world would exist whether or not the player was there to experience it – things would
keep on moving. Your goal within the world is to either prolong the Age of Fire or extinguish
it and bring about the Age of Darkness. The path to achieving this goal, however, twists
and turns to the point that it’s easy for the goal to become obfuscated to the player
– for them to forget what the larger narrative is. This isn’t bad storytelling, quite the
opposite – it brings the narrative down to a singular level. The main cataclysm and how
you affect it no longer matters in the same way it might in a more linear, player-focused
game. The player’s goals, as a result, become 1) making the experience in this cold, indifferent
world as bearable as it possibly can be because there is joy to behold in this world and 2)
reclaim as much agency within this world as you possibly can. I can’t tell you how much this realisation
of what Dark Souls is trying to do helped me deal with my own emotions and mental illness
– this game is life! The world around us is completely indifferent to any of us, and would
continue whether we were here or not. With that in mind, the way to live a happy life
becomes clear – take the little steps to gain as much agency over your life as possible,
and make the lower points as bearable as possible so that you can experience the numerous high
points. The small things in Dark Souls include learning the mechanics of combat – learning
when to dodge, when to parry, how to manage your stamina and inventory, these are all
fairly small elements when taken on their own, and they each get learned and honed separately
as their requirements in combat become clearer to the player, but when added together they
become an incredibly deep combat system that make the player feel like a master of the
systems in a way that no other game allows the player to feel. Compare this to how I
was viewing my life – my idea of where I wanted to be compared to where I was seemed like
this incredible gulf and this arguably contributed a great deal to my feelings of hopelessness
and worthlessness because I thought nothing could change. By focusing on the tiniest things,
like forcing myself to get showered and dressed when I wake up, or finishing that piece of
music I was writing but was going to give up on, or cooking myself a healthy meal, or
lifting weights, or working on this damn show, whilst I’m still very much in the early stages
of getting to where I want to be, breaking it all down and focusing on one element at
a time allows me to progress in my life, no matter how glacial that progress might seem
at times. Dark Souls taught me that it was ok for that progress to be slow – working
to achieve that progress is enough to keep going with it. What initially seemed like
an utter brickwall of difficulty in Dark Souls I was able to chip away at it gradually until
I became actually pretty good at it! What’s more is that I trained myself to become good
at it – the world of the game didn’t help me do it, it couldn’t care less about me.
The design of the game, however, subtly encourages you to keep going with it so you can feel
the celebratory feeling when you overcome an obstacle. Taking this approach and applying
it to my life allowed me to realise that even if I didn’t have a concrete goal in mind,
as long as I was working to make sure I could see the joy of life, then that was good enough. And there is joy in life, both in Dark Souls
and subsequently, I discovered, in the real world. One might think of the joy of Dark
Souls being as simple as mastering each combat encounter, as this is the core mechanic. Sure
enough the mastery of the combat system is the payoff for training yourself to become
better at the smaller systems that make up the larger whole and as a result every combat
encounter and victory feels more substantial because it is all truly earned by the player,
but for me there was a much more simple source of joy I found within Dark Souls – the views.
That may sound silly, but the stunning world design and the vistas in Dark Souls encouraged
me to keep going even when the difficulty felt insurmountable. Even when the design
is at its most grim, such as in Blighttown or Sens Fortress, there is a level of detail
and architectural consistency to the design of these places that they take on a warped
beauty of their own, and as such exploring them is just as rewarding as any other area
of the game. Why do I mention this? Because it actually encouraged me to go outside and
explore the world around me! For the longest time my depression had rendered me a recluse
which led to me feeling incredibly isolated and alone, whilst also viewing everything
outside my curtained bedroom window as a threat. Dark Souls reminded me that I actually am
fortunate enough to live in a fairly pretty place myself in Western Scotland and the joy
I had of discovering new places and simply taking in the atmosphere and staring into
the distance of Dark Souls’ vistas encouraged me to get out of my self – imposed prison
and experience it for myself! It took a long time to get to that point, but as Dark Souls
also taught me, as long as you are teaching yourself and training yourself in little steps,
no matter how glacial the progress might seem, it will eventually yield rewards for you – you
just need to know where to look for them. What’s best is that From Software is acutely
aware of all of this – from the legacy the game has garnered to the ways in which they
very deliberately subvert this legacy. For one, difficulty is not the main element of
the game – in fact, director Hidetaka Miyazaki has stated that “…the main concept behind
the death system is trial and error. The difficulty is high, but always achievable. Everyone can
achieve without all that much technique – all you need to do is learn, from your deaths,
how to overcome the difficulties. Overcoming challenges by learning something in a game
is a very rewarding feeling, and that’s what I wanted to prioritise in Dark Souls and Demon’s
Souls. And because of the online, you can even learn something from somebody else’s
death. I’d say that was the main concept behind the online, too.” The online is another key
element of how this game helped me deal with my depression – it helped me realise that
I’m not alone. Depression can lead to people feeling more isolated than they ever have
done in the past, and this can be one of the main reasons the illness feels so insurmountable.
The idea that the world around you is out to get you and you are alone in this struggle
is utterly demoralising. However, once you realise that far more people suffer from this
illness than many people think, even if their circumstances and the way the illness affects
them differ completely to how they affect you, just knowing that they’re ultimately
fighting the same battle can be enough to convince someone that the battle is indeed
winnable. I don’t think I really need to explain how this relates to Dark Souls’
multiplayer, but I would argue that the game would flat out not work if not for the summoning
system (which, although derided by some as a means of ‘not playing the game right’
can give people a sense of respite when they need it most) or even just the spectres that
sit at bonfires as you approach. They exemplify the game’s philosophy that ‘hey, you’re
ultimately the one that is going to have to work hard in order to survive in this world,
and the world is brutally indifferent towards your presence, but you can get through this,
because you’re not alone in your efforts.’ Maybe it’s just my warped post-suicidal
perspective on life talking, but I ended up taking a great deal of comfort from this outlook. This is why I say that Dark Souls is a celebration
of life rather than simply a showcase of death and sadism. It communicates these ideas without
at all feeling patronising, and just representing what it truly means to live. Its design, mechanics
and writing are all geared to encourage the player to keep fighting through even when
it seems insurmountable, and guides the player as to how they should break down a problem
and solve it bit by bit. In fact, the game actively trivialises death – at least on your
first time through, you are going to die far more than you are going to succeed (the world
can still be cruel and is always indifferent towards you), to an almost comical degree.
Death becomes inevitable, expected, rote, but not in a way that forces the player to
resign themselves to that fact. As I say, through working on those small elements, you
can create your own agency and become what you want to be in this world. The world is
so consumed by the idea of death that the times you survive become true moments of triumph,
to be fully celebrated – and the game will celebrate with you. Before plunging you into
the next horrific difficulty wall head first because, ya know, Dark Souls. And because,
ya know, life. But it’s okay, because both can be pretty cool sometimes. Hopefully I’ve made clear how the close ties
between Dark Souls’ world and the real world reflect and resonate in some pretty interesting
ways. Like I say, this is purely anecdotal (the science is largely still out on specifically
how games affect pre-existing depression) so don’t take this as me saying ‘PLAYING
DARK SOULS WILL CURE YOU OF YOUR DEPRESSION!’ However just know that a lot if the lessons
I learned from Dark Souls ended up becoming incredibly useful to me in recognising the
joy in life and teaching me how to achieve it when previously I had been so resigned
to the idea of my own death. That’s pretty important to me and is something perhaps more
games should explore – reality doesn’t centre around the individual, and that’s ok. as has
been proven to me by Dark Souls, sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed to remind you
that things are alright, and you’re not alone. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this slightly different,
more personal episode of Writing On Games – if you enjoyed it then if you’d consider
subscribing that’d be really cool – and i’ll see you next time.

100 comments

  1. So I'm playing Sekiro and I got hella roadblocked, found this video in recommended and I just fucking bruteforced myself through that wall after watching and getting inspired.

    Thanks guy!

  2. Pretty awesome video topic. Loving the dostoyevsky references too. To be honest mate, i think dark souls 1 is such an almost impossibly beautifull and tear provoking expirience it is proof that the only way forward in this world is to 'find meaning in the suffering'. You would love classical music. You should listen to a rachmaninoff concerto or a mahler symphony. you would love it.

  3. You helped yourself, don’t disservice yourself by giving credit where it isn’t due. Take pride in saving yourself, DS is just a game.

  4. Thank you for this, I feel a lot less crazy knowing how much these games helped my ability to remain functional and gain confidence to continue living

  5. Man I have never seen this kind of video before and now I feel the same way truth be told I never really supposed to have until year 9 for me and I always wondered why when for the other 13 years I never thought that anyone ever liked me this led me to depression or so I thought because I stopped caring life in the end and that life is meaningless until I started playing dark souls 3 and sooner or later the rest of the series just like this guy on the video I started to want to get better and live life until I started to get friends people started to like me and I started to like life and sooner or later I started to become happy and not for the most part think about ending myself

    Anyway this video helped me a lot on a lot of reasons and I really enjoy your and I hope you get more then 20 mil subs one day so see ya and thanks for letting me know how I coped with my depression without even knowing.

    See Ya

  6. I didn't get the great inspiration that you got but I did totally identify with the "accursed" character going through insurmountable odds. I too recognized how parallel the game was to depression. So much so I assumed the developers were actually to some degree using the game as a metaphor for it.

  7. Your take on dark souls is so enlightening. I to have been dealing with depression. Iv made mistakes in my recent life that are very hard to rectify. And to me, it seemed like I may never find happiness again. I have felt alienated from my friends and family. I lost my fiance of 3.5 years. I'm a single father raising my 5 year old by myself. And all of these factors have made me feel very isolated and alone. Then recently I started playing dark souls 3. I have tried it before but dieing so much always made me turn away. But this time is different. And in my head, I thought maybe the reason I was enjoying it so much this time around was because I could rage at the game instead of the other people in my life. But after listening to your video, I am looking at it differently. Maybe the reason I am enjoying it so much is because it reminds me so much of my own life. Alone in a world where even the slightest misstep can bring u down and set u back and the only way to prevail is to learn from your mistakes. And even if it slow going, any progress is still progress. I have also recently gotten myself a car so I dont feel so trapped in my room alone. I can get out and see the world more. I quit smoking pot 2 months ago and my family life has improved. I have learned to control my impulse to get upset and in turn I feel as tho I am winning my fiance back. And all of these new positive factors are making me feel like a better father to my child. Because I feel like now I can provide him with all of the things that he needs that I havent been able to before. Simply because I was holding myself back. Listening to your dark souls video has brought all of this to the forfront of my mind. Life is what u make of it. U can either wallow in your misery and let it eventually take u down. Or u can keep trying, learn from your mistakes and conquer any obstacle that stands in your path. It's all in your own perspective. Excellent video my man!!

  8. Darkest dungeon is a game that helped me in combination with dark souls and now even sekiro it was darkest dungeon that helped me realize that sometimes shit is just gonna go wrong and you can't do anything about it and that everyone has a breaking point..dark souls however taught me how to push forward for something as simple as rekindling a flame so I can understand your logic I too stood at a nihilistic stand point for the longest time but dark souls even pushed me away from that funnily enough.

  9. I've been bullied a lot and I did try to kill myself 3 years ago. However even tho i found this gem very late it…safed my life really, I cannot tell you how much I love this game the lore,characters,bosses and the fact that even tho you're worthless in the world of DS you still come far. So Dark Souls than you for saving my life and even giving me new views on it.
    Praise this game <3

  10. The Nihilist goes into suicide as life is meaningless we are a fighting a pointless battle with no meaning.
    The absurdist says, "So?"

  11. I completely agree with this, except for slightly different reasons, 2 years ago I lost my sister, mum and dad in the same year…all to cancer…2 unexpected and 1 more chronic

    Gaming helped me escape and find ways through the pain but I was angry…still am, find it hard to control my temper and manage it

    Strangely I have found that souls is teaching me to handle anger, not rage over dying but think about the ways to beat anger and work around it with stable mind, analyse and execute

    Hopefully it starts to affect real life situations as they present themselves

  12. when i was suicidal it was before darksouls came out, but what helped me was actually a George Carlin bit, particularly his televised suicide bit, that combined with another comedians bit about uncreative suicide, it kind of kicked my self esteem too low to even attempt it because i would'nt be creative enough with it, so then i could get better, now i have a healthy gleeful nihalisim outlook, the world doesn't care about you, and thats ok, enjoy life all i can

  13. Amazing. I love when people really get Dark Souls. It's not hardness for the sake of it, it's a lesson.

  14. I found that people in the game usually "go hollow" after they lose purpose or give up. This ties in well with depression. They only way to fail and "go hollow" is to lose hope and give up. In the game, the player is the only character who doesnt give up, and doesnt go hollow, instead achieving whatever goal they had for the end of the game. When characters in the game say thing like "dont you dare go hollow" they are telling you to never give up. I have depression as well, and after finally playing DS1 when it came to Switch, and looking into it, the message this could convey, whether intentional or not, is motivational even outside of the boundries of the game world.

  15. +Writing On Games I have subscribed to your channel since over one year now and I have seen most of your videos, but for some reason every time I used to start this video, I just couldn't finish. But today after finally watching it all the way through, I can only imagine it mus have meant for you to make a video like this.

    Thanks a lot for letting yourself this vulnerable in front of us and reminding us the Impact and Importance of Video Games can a Person's life and Why we love playing video games in the first place. I have bought Dark Souls Trilogy after watching lot of your and other YouTubers "Spoiler Free" videos on it.

    But i hadn't start playing it yet. But after watching this video I'm definitely going to play each one of them, no matter how badly I SUCK at them. Thanks for this Hamish. I really appreciate it.

  16. Christ, as someone who’s struggled with this sort of thing since I was a child, this really spoke to me. To me, Dark Souls represents the eternal return. To continue throughout, doing the same, all for the sake of embracing life.

  17. Dark Souls is like life

    You fail, but failure is a part of progression, you learn from it, and you officially “get gud”

  18. Life is meaningless
    Nothing you do changes anything
    I am happy about that, it means i can't do anything wrong
    Yet i'm not depressed about my own insignificance, and will most likely never be, simply because i know that if i don't enjoy life i'm just wasting it, and because i'm not afraid of death
    I don't want to die yet, but once my time is up i won't be too sad about it because i want to know what happens after death
    Noticing that everything is meaningless improved my life

  19. When he said dark souls made him want to go outside and explore and take in views I was like “that must’ve ended up being a disappointment”, then he said he lived in Scotland and that got me super jealous cause Scotland, along with New Zealand, are 2 of the most beautiful, fantasy like places on earth

  20. Hey mate. Loved your video. Earned my sub. I too have struggled with depression and found Dark Souls helped me learn to keep trying.
    When we fail to reach our goals, you might say we go back to square one ( bonfire)
    And each time we feel more dismayed, more like giving up. We have less motivation to keep going.
    But if we embrace our humanity, create our own agency and keep fighting on, just as we did in Dark Souls, we can conquer life day by day.
    Don't you dare go hollow.

  21. I’ve been going through hard times recently I’ve been feeling disconnected and alone. In the end I always think “Don’t you dare go Hollow!” I can only “hollow” if I give up no matter how bad it gets just keep going onwards. I’m glad other people get the same form of help from games and reading. I am glad for Dark Souls it’s helped me and been my favorite game ever it’s help me through a lot and my age of fire continues. Don’t go hollow my friends we will keep going no matter what happens bonfire to bonfire point to point.

  22. Dark Souls (mainly the first one) is a fantastic piece of art if I ever saw it. It's moving painting-esqe visuals. The gripping narrative, or lack there of. And an unflinching view of death. It is not a matter of IF you will die. But HOW. The mass portion of the story is about who lives, and who doesn't. It's dripping with dread and it is not for the faint of heart. Neither is it impossible. It is a beautiful pit of despair and triumph. As is life.
    I myself suffer from overwhelming anxiety and manic/depression. It is hard sometimes to smile. But fighting those thoughts and feelings is what drives me. For a game to unflinchingly tell a woeful and dreary tale about sorrow and loss helps me realize I am not alone. It is a wonderfully powerful place to be when you overcome that foe that gave you grief. Such is life. A task being difficult is not an indictment of impossibility. It is a mountain to climb. A boulder to heave. It is a goal.
    The sequels are fine and good and all. And wherever you start is not wrong. But Dark Souls (And Demons Souls) is the odds stacked against you. And it is up to you to climb that mountain. But when you finally reach the peak, and look off to see a larger mountain, it is up to you to not quit.

  23. kinda drunk rn but all I can say atm is that it feels incredibly validating and reassuring to hear someone talk about suicidality and depression so matter-of-factly and directly, without that squeamishness or unnecessary hesitation.

    It seems so weird but like just how almost banal this video is makes it seem really comforting and empowering to me

  24. Don't know if this will ever be seen on a 3 year old video but I just want to say something.

    I've had a depressive episode before that others responded to with smiles and messages on the borderline of "you should smile more." Those things have never helped me in my darkest times, in fact anytime I've been depressed I prefer being around dark-themed things, around things that are blue or devoid of meaning. Not because I wanted to be sad but because it felt like I was connecting with something or someone that understood how I felt. Being consoled with smiles when I'm upset never made me feel better because it only reminded me of something I didn't have or couldn't obtain that someone else had and it would just make me worse. I've always felt better though from slamming a fist into a pillow or even just finding some secluded spot to cry in. It always felt terrible in the moment, but like a heavy weight was lifted off myself by the end when my thoughts became more constructed from the expulsion of those feelings of sorrow.

    Dark Souls is a very tragic world. It rarely works out in this world, hell, the series basically ends with the world simply fading to ash. Even so the determination needed to beat the game combined with the cast of characters you meet along the way, even if they meet inevitable death, kinda gives you a sense of purpose. In the end, you even help a stranger paint a new world entirely.

    From a perspective of lore I enjoy Dark Souls much more than your cut and paste hero's story type genre because rather than being uplifting or inspiring it simply feels… real. The pain and struggle, followed by acceptance, determination, adaptation and ultimately endurance just made for such an enjoyable experience. i'm excited to see how Elden Ring presents itself when it comes out, And I'm rarely excited about new releases anymore, but the soulsborne games will have my respect for daring to tell a dark narrative in a world increasingly afraid of it's own dark soul.

  25. honestly, Darksouls is one of the easier games there is. All you do is get a good weapon, get a few good swings in, and boom. Every boss is piss. And it's not like life. In life, you ultimately have to learn to let go. In darksouls, you're always earning souls and leveling up, so eventually everything becomes easier. In life, barring another death, we're all eventually going to get old and sickley and succumb to an illness and die. We're not going to be earning souls to get stronger and stronger, we are in fact going to get weeker and weeker as we get older and die. Dark souls isn't like life.

  26. This is a really wholesome video, and it also gave me a new perspective on invaders even though that was never really addressed.

    There are people out there in the world that are malevolent. Spiteful, self-absorbed, cruel, in varying degrees. The invasion system allows those people to act out their power fantasies by giving you a harder time–but it helps to understand and cope with the fact that those people are out there, and ultimately nothing can be done about it. Sometimes, through great effort, you can triumph over them, but other times you lose and get set back, possibly significantly so. It's just part of life.

  27. I started playing Dark Souls for the first time I've gotten far enogh to best a good amount of bosses.

    The topic of this video is right on the money with how I connect to this game.

  28. The glow of the bonfire reminds you of the adversaries and obstacles ahead.
    It fills you with Determination

  29. Ngl, Dark souls kind of inspired be to do three things (or four idk)

    1,- Overcome my depression, loneliness and fear of failure, such as yourself

    2.- Not even kidding that Gwyndolin inspired be to take up archery while embracing my frail form with muscle atrophy and femenine looks I was mocked for before

    3.- Hell, I even began training at fencing and taekwondo that I gained a pretty good figure I can be proud of, might even compete soon

  30. Great writing. As someone who has suffered as well, I hear you with the difficult but fair system of Dark Souls. How great you feel when you win cannot be understated

  31. Only that Dark Souls is still a game, created by humans, which is also designed not to frustrate the player TOO much, and properly reward them when they succeed. Life on the other hand, isn't that fair unfortunately.
    Good video regardless.

  32. Every morning you wake up at your bonfire, the world repeats itself and all your challenges are at point 0 again, but once again you're going to fine tune your approach and make it just a bit farther than the attempt before. You might have a malicious invader or a silly slip and take a hit, but you only go Hollow if you give up.

  33. Great outlook on this amazing game. I'm also a depression sufferer. If Dark Souls taught me anything it's that failure isn't something to be ashamed of. It's part of the wider process of overcoming something really hard. It taught me to almost enjoy and embrace my failures in life.

    I think this is probably regurgitated from someone else, but you actually fail when you give up and/or don't learn anything. In other words, if anyone reading this is going through a hard time, keep at it man, you'll get there! It's like the Capra Demon with those bastard doggos. Yeah, it's bullshit, but you'll find a way. Whatever you do just don't give up.

    Neither of us want to see you go hollow.

  34. And i thought i was fucking crazy when i started thinking that a game was actually helping me have another point of view about life. I always played games since i was a kid, it was my way to escape real life and scary thoughts. This video was so on point it scares me. Subbed instantly, thanks for putting all theese thoughts into listenable words. Depression is a bitch, it really is, but we must push forward. Thank you.

  35. What is suicidal is trying to fight Lords and Gwyn's knights with a lightning infused weapon… Jesus, man! xD

  36. I like your video, thank you for telling us your story and the lessons you learned from dark souls. Although, I'd like to add my perspective on human insignificance. I do agree that to this world we are insignificant as it is cruel and will move on until its' end.

    But I believe that humans are greatly significant in another way. Not because of our own merit, but because of our creator God. He sees us as valuable and worth creating and caring for despite our rebellion against him. He sees us with so much value that he took on a human body 2000 years ago and took our rightful place for punishment, even though he didn't deserve it or have to do it. It was done out of divine love.

    dark souls beats your pride out of you and shows you that you must humble yourself and acknowledge that your death is avoidable if you'll allow yourself to learn from your mistakes.

    I believe that we must leave our own pride behind in the real world and admit to ourselves that we've done wrong against humans, and against our creator.
    Once we leave that pride behind we understand the significance of God's sovereignty in our lives.
    We learn from our mistakes how to improve and overcome our demons and fears. And if we fail we can get back up and tackle the issue again with a new perspective.

    Most importantly, you probably see where I'm going with this. Once we humble ourselves we welcome God and his gift of salvation to ourselves. We find faith to trust in Christ alone to save our souls from the eternal death that we've earned through our wrong doings. And we gain a gift that we recieve through faith to cleanse us and change our minds and hearts for the better.

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shal not perish, but have everlasting life." -John 3:16

    If you made it this far then thank you for taking the time to read my comment. I hope it has helped you in some way and will be something you'll think about. God bless you.

    ps. I've been playing a lot of sekiro and that game has been a wild ride for me.

  37. Being a lore nerd, to me, dark souls is a game about accepting the inevitable. Gwyn himself doomed the world to an indefinite cycle by his attempt to hold on to what he knew was only a brief flash of power at any cost. And even if the chosen undead were to link the fire, he’s only buying that small grasp of power a little more time. He continues to reject the inevitable. And look at what that got Gwyn, and everyone who tried to perpetuate the age of fire. Gwynevere had to flee, because she could tell what was coming. The Nameless king was removed from history itself because he dared to question the ideas of Gwyn, left only as crumbled statues, and hushed whispers. Gwyndolyn was forced to be a child unfit for his throne, maintaining an illusion that he KNOWS is a lie, but he keeps it up for the sake of others regardless of the reality of the situation, living in denial. Artorias dies alone, and afraid, giving his life for his friend, and losing control over his body and mind as he tries to fight the future of the world. Kiaran dies in grief, obsessed over her fallen love, unable to continue, despite the fact that her feelings were never requited. Gough sits alone, his purpose served, doing anything to keep himself busy to distract himself from how crushingly lonely his existence is, and how he lives blinded. Ornstein fights for a cause that he himself isn’t even sure he believes in, and dies for that cause, betrayed by the only person he thought was his friend. Syf is duty bound to protect the grave of his master, honoring the memory of the one who gave his life to keep her alive, at all costs, even if that means fighting someone she once called friend. And lastly, Gwyn, who after all the effort, all the men he sent to die for his cause, he ends up locked away beneath a crumbling shrine. No longer a god of sunlight, a mountain of a man,surrounded by epic quires, and orchestras. Despite EVERYTHING he did to resist the future, he ended up a broken, lonesome shell of a man, with just a single piano to accompany him…

    Bum, dum, bum… bum, bum, dum… dum dum…

  38. Im glad I am not the only person who lives with what I call my "Optimistic Nihilism" That nothing in the universe matters more than another thing, the universe doesnt care what choices you make in life, so live life in a way that you can live with. I also really relate to the suicidal attempts/thoughts. No matter how you seem to explain it to people, if they dont suffer with problem, they just wont truly understand. I myself started a metal band to channel my creative side into something productive, but as much as i love it. It is very difficult to finish songs and force myself to pick that guitar up and practice. My dogs force me to go outside and get some exercise, but some days it seems so intimidating to goto work, appointments, band practice, or anything.

    Its awesome you took the lessons from a video game and found a real world application for yourself. I coped my whole life with video games, the worlds they create, and the characters I admired. but music, specifically heavy metal, is what gave me the real tools i needed to keep my mind healthy and fight back against the sometimes overwhelming dark thoughts. Cheers man, great video. Thanks for taking the time to make it.

  39. I was suicidal but I didn't see it as me wanting me dead I saw it as the world wanting me dead, what kept me going was a blood thirsty rage at the world that wanted me dead and so I continued I raged against that machine I fought and I LIVED

  40. Dark Souls III was my first Souls game, and 99% of the time my outlook was the same of yours. Of course, during the fight with the Abyss Watchers, I became more suicidal than I had been during all my middle school years combined.

  41. You've essentially became human and your hollowing gone

    Your hollowing represents depression losing yourself and going mad

    Your human form represents you a proud and great human who's ready to take on the world

  42. I was battling with pretty severe depression and poor physical health the last few years. My relationship fell apart and I hit a low for all of 2018, probably the most real my depression or suicidality has ever been. I pushed through though and booked a ticket overseas. I travelled and volunteered and I was getting better, until, my health deteriorated. Unfortunately I had to return home after six months, and despite acknowledging how lucky I am to even have the opportunity to travel for so long, cutting my trip short and stepping back into my struggles back home and this time with chronic illness I was prepared to really hit a low. But, I'm relishing in it, I'm learning from all of these experiences and growing. And, finally getting around to playing Dark Souls is affirming all these notions. Fucking brilliant video mate, amazing game. I'm so excited to finish off Gwyn (hopefully today) and go grab Dark Souls 2. 🙌🏻

  43. I almost killed myself because of Dark Souls today… fuck this game (or at least the remaster)
    Can only use a controller after restarting the pc, any keyboard input makes controllers no longer work with the game.
    Inputs are constantly being spammed, as in I press something and it does it twice. Haven't been able to find the fucking reason.
    Some characters movements are actually broken, they do not move correctly. Not sure if this is unique to the remaster but jumping attacks from enemies go WAY too far.

    And finally… the nail in this games coffin for me. Deciding to randomly roll when im walking off a ledge. A very particular ledge… the ledge leading to the ONE bonfire in all of Sens Fortress.
    My right hand was not touching the controller, I was actively holding my hand away so that exact thing couldn't happen.
    Needless to say my hands are now missing some flesh and I would rather slit my fucking throat that go through that piece of shit fortress one more fucking time

  44. I came here for the title and to tell my own story. Darks Souls was my best friends video game series. My best friend killed himself before the remaster release on switch which I know we would have had countless hours of fun and laughs. I myself has never beaten a Dark Souls game and despite the countless deaths, frustrations, and dead ends, I keep going. I love you Chad and I miss you buddy.

  45. Part of me wonder how when it comes to mental health if you know how to make the most of your w/a game (w/resources like playthroughs etc) whether switching from one addiction (ex.pornography) to another which is stimulating for different reasons (ex.Pokemon and it’s non-sexual nature), it helps. I don’t mean this flippantly.

  46. Dark Souls saved my life. I probably would not be alive without playing it. It helped me cope with my depression and PTSD more then any Lexapro or Zoloft ever did. I still go back to it when I'm having a bad day. I feel the same way about Silent Hill 2.

  47. Dark souls lore is very much a tale about the acceptance of death and inevitability. Especially in 3 snuffing out the fire isn't portrayed as a bad end it ends very hopefully with the promise of a renewed world. Prolonging the age of fire only caused bad things and people suffered for it but people despite that still fear its fading. Every playthrough of 3 i allow the fire to fade because through observing the world and seeing what attempts to prolong the fire caused i found it the right thing to do. To me it says that agonizing over the inevitable just makes you suffer more and accepting it and coming to terms with it is crucial to have as happy of a life as possible. That's something that really resonates with me. It wasn't a revelation or anything I've had that belief for years but it's harder in practice to accept death especially as an atheist who believes in the idea we stop existing. I just fell in love with a world that so eloquently portrays that in every facet of its world including its lore and in a meaningful non-pretentious way. It's a very beautiful world for all its death and decay.

  48. You made me realize some very powerfully moving things about myself and my experience with Dark Souls. I knew I loved this game but I didn't realize the impact it had on me and my own personal 'demons'. Defeating these types of monsters in Dark Souls was sort of like defeating the beasts in my own heart. And while I understand they'll return eventually, like the cycle of fire and dark in Dark Souls, I gain confidence, experience and skill every time we do battle – like the gathering of souls. Thank you for this.

  49. I honestly believe that the questions of life, death and worthlessness versus hope in Dark Souls was unique to its Japanese creators in how it was portrayed due to their culture's history with fear of failure and suicides caused by the pressure of success. After all, it runs deep in their culture, with a particular movie called Cure touching on their society's underbelly of repressed emotions in their everyday life.

  50. I hate this game. I never get a feeling of accomplishment from overcoming an obstacle, either in life or in games. All of you who do get that feeling are damn lucky. I just feel tired. Unfortunately, challenge is literally all this game has to offer. The game does not look gorgeous. It looks terrible, bleached and drained of color.

  51. I really needed to watch this. I've played the Soulsborne games for several years, but just recently things have gotten pretty bad for me. I've been struggling with depression and anxiety for several years and I made some decisions that I really regret. I'm currently in my sophomore year of college and I'm slowly finding out that school may not be the way I should go. Pressures from society have made me feel terrible for realizing that. As a result, my depression has been fluctuating this past year. I was hospitalized for the better part of a week back in June for suicidal reasons. In some ways, I think it did more harm than good.
    I purposely stopped taking my medication and just lost myself in… not feeling. I'm still struggling with that. I haven't taken my medication for several weeks. To distract myself, I would often play the Souls games. I still wasn't really feeling, and am not currently either. I wasn't taking anything in. But now… this video, as well as a few others I've watched today, have given me a new appreciation for the games.
    "Don't you dare go hollow" has a whole new meaning for me. In fact, once I post this, I'm going to write it on my bathroom mirror. Don't you dare go hollow. Don't give up. Don't be a mindless husk. By extension, in Bloodborne, I feel as though I need to… wake up from the nightmare. I need to burn those beasts in my head.
    Maybe this all is just a convoluted mess of text. If you've read this far, I applaud you.
    It's comforting to know that I'm not alone in this situation, and I feel like I've been encouraged. I need to remember that… things take time. I'm not naturally a patient person. But just like in the Souls games, I need to take baby steps and keep getting back up.
    Because I know that I really don't want to go hollow.

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