I struggle with depression and anxiety daily. Lately, it’s been worse than ever. I try to immerse myself in the games to keep my mind off things. I try to tell myself that I need to hold on because that’s what Lara would do.
I look back throughout my life and I can’t remember a moment without Lara. My Dad brought home a Playstation when I was 3. I remember seeing a girl on TV and asking who she was, and saying she was pretty.
That was when I became hooked.
As a small child, she helped me through school and my mother’s alcoholism. She helped me through my parent’s breakup. My Grandfather’s cancer and death. She made me want to live, to learn, to better myself. Not long before my Grandad passed away, he bought me the Tomb Raider magazine that only ran a short time in UK. I think I still have the poster somewhere, covered in love heart stickers. He encouraged my love for Lara because he knew she was a positive influence, something I desperately needed in my life.
When I started self harming at age 11, I’d beat myself up afterwards, because Lara wouldn’t have done that. Again, I turned to the games instead of hurting myself. As I got older and saw different psychiatrists, and was put on various antidepressants, one psychiatric nurse told me that living through Lara and “being her” to be confident was a good idea, but to maybe let her go when I could cope on my own. Obviously, I never took the latter part of her advice.
Lara helped me through the bullying I faced as a teenager. Through more fights with my mother. Eventually my mother and I bonded because of Lara when she started helping me with costumes.
I’ve made some of my dearest friends because of Lara, back in the day on various forums. I’ve travelled to meet two of them. I have her name tattooed on me to remind me to be strong.
Even now, when I feel like everything is going wrong, when I think about suicide daily, I look to Lara for inspiration, for strength. Never underestimate the impact a game can have on someone’s life. In my case, if it weren’t for a game, I wouldn’t be here.