Entering into the world of the hunter’s dream sent me on a nightmarish journey through the depths of Yharnam and taught me lessons I never could have dreamt of (excuse the pun).
2015 was a year of uncertainty for me. I was starting university and dealing with the stress of having to find a career. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do even after being accepted to start a Criminology degree and at the time I felt as though I may have made the wrong decision, or more importantly not made a decision for myself. I remember it feeling like the tides of life were crashing in on me. I lived a lot of my experiences inside my head and thought a lot – To be honest, I still do. Gaming was always a way out for me. A meditative state where I wouldn’t have to think about things for a while
If you haven’t played Bloodborne before, let me fill you in on the basics. The game is set in a dark, gothic world called Yharnam, where you play as a hunter trying to unravel the mystery behind a blood-borne illness that has taken hold of the city. As you explore the city, you’ll encounter all sorts of nightmarish creatures and bosses that will put your skills to the test.
The game is notoriously difficult and requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to die a lot (and I mean a LOT). But that’s part of what makes it so rewarding – when you finally overcome a particularly challenging boss or area, you feel like a total badass.
The mechanics of the game are similar to other games in the “Soulsborne” genre (like Dark Souls and Sekiro), where combat is based on timing and strategy rather than button-mashing. You’ll need to carefully manage your stamina, dodge attacks, and find openings to strike your enemies.
Overall, Bloodborne is an immersive and challenging game that rewards players who are willing to stick with it. And for me, it was much more than just a game – it was a tool for overcoming depression and building resilience.
I would be stuck on the character customisation screen for hours, wondering how my character would look and what weapons I would use. I realised long after, that I was trying to do the same with my own life. I was overthinking the trivial things without actually doing them.
The first creature in Bloodborne destroyed me, more than a few times and I struggled through the beginning of the game. It throws you into a disgusting dream-like scenario which I won’t spoil in case you haven’t played it. The first enemy you face is a werewolf, without a weapon or any idea as to how to play the game. I have never played a From Soft game before so I was confused as to what the hell I was doing. Eventually, I managed to run out from the clinic you start the game in and found a lamp which would transport me to a safe place in the game called ‘The Hunters Dream’. Yes, I know… it’s a lot to take in and that’s exactly why I stopped playing it for a while. A few months actually…
Eventually, though something brought me back to it.
I started playing again and I fell in love. I was faced with challenge after challenge and was thrown into the depths of hell. I loved every minute of it.
The most important thing It taught me was resilience. There were times when I would be stuck on a boss for hours. Trying over and over again, dying over and over again. Running through checkpoints to get to the boss. However, the feeling of finally beating the boss after being beaten down for hours is phenomenal. It’s a feeling of accomplishment I never really felt before.
Playing Bloodborne was a game-changer for me in more ways than one. Not only did I learn about resilience and the power of perseverance, but I also discovered a newfound sense of purpose and excitement that had been missing from my life.
I remember one time when I was going through a particularly tough period. I was feeling incredibly low and struggling to motivate myself to do anything. But then I turned on Bloodborne and started working my way through the game’s challenges. Suddenly, I felt like I had a purpose again. I found myself using the same focus and determination I used in the game to tackle my struggles, and it made a huge difference.
There was this one particularly gruelling boss battle called The Blood Starved Beast.
I kept failing over and over again, but every time I picked myself up and tried again. I even went away to level up and get some more practice in the area. However, it wasn’t enough and I ended up trying to seek help online. This opened up a world online for me where people were helping each other complete the game. It was a community. A place for people who want to finish the game. At the time I found help from the PlayStation group of the game. A post board where people will offer help and come assist you. It’s a multiplayer feature that allowed real people to come to help you in your playthrough. I used this a couple of times when things got too tough, I even made some online friends doing this.
Finally, I emerged victorious, at the time it felt like the greatest achievement ever and in some ways it was.
It was moments like these that helped me build the confidence and resilience I needed to tackle my inner demons.
Looking back, I can see just how much playing Bloodborne helped me develop a sense of inner strength and resilience. It wasn’t just about beating a game – it was about learning how to overcome obstacles, both in the game and in my own life. And that’s a lesson that I’ll carry with me for a long time to come.
Bloodborne was therapy for me. A Cost-effective one, I bought the game once and it taught me so much about myself. Since playing, I’ve wanted to relay this experience and deliver it through my writing. Today even as I write this, I know that Bloodborne has been such a huge factor in my wanting to help people. To help others cope and escape the ‘nightmare’ we put ourselves in.
It got me into the reading of H.P. Lovecraft and deepened my love for the strange and surreal. I owe a lot to this video game. It’s helped me beyond measure and made me who I am today.
Also, I know that dealing with depression can be tough, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to turn for help. That’s why I want to make sure that I provide some resources for you at the end of this article.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, there are many mental health hotlines and websites that can offer support and guidance. I’ll include some links to these resources so that you can easily access them.
Remember, it’s important to take care of yourself and seek help when you need it. You don’t have to go through this alone.
- Samaritans: A 24/7 confidential support service for anyone in the UK and Ireland who needs someone to talk to. Call 116 123 or visit their website at www.samaritans.org.
- Mind: A UK-based mental health charity that offers information, advice, and support to anyone experiencing mental health problems. Visit their website at http://www.mind.org.uk.
- Video games for mental health: https://www.gamesradar.com/uk/video-games-for-mental-health/
Also, if any video games have helped you through tough times let me know in the comments or on my socials.
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