Featured image credit: SWNS
Pokémon Go is not just a cultural phenomenon; it has now become an actual life saver.
Lifelong Pokémon fan Jack Kilbourn was stood on top of a multi-storey car park just a few months ago and was considering jumping but now he has a new lease of life thanks to Pokémon Go.
The 22-year-old first started collecting Pokémon cards when he was three years old and has remained a fan ever since.
In March of this year, however, he was stood on top of a car park in Leicester and was 'within seconds' of jumping. He didn't, was diagnosed with clinical depression and signed off from his job of five years at River Island.
Thinks couldn't have looked bleaker for Jack until Pokémon Go was released at the beginning of July.
Having not left his house in weeks, he now spends his time walking 13 miles a day around his hometown of Leicester, mixing with fellow gamers trying to catch 'em all.
Jack said: "I was a completely broken person. I used to sit at home, letting my depression and anxiety consume me.
"I didn't want to leave the house. I was trapped in my own thoughts. Once I spent two weeks inside my house because I was too anxious to go out.
"I had lost hope in the world and myself, and even considered taking my own life.
"When Pokémon was released I downloaded the app and it forced me to get out."
Before he knew it, Jack was spending more and more time out of the house catching Pokémon, having walked more than 120 kilometres since he downloaded it. So far he's caught 75 of the 150 Pokémon and is a Level 21 trainer.
"Pokémon has saved me. It has given me confidence and has improved my outlook completely," he said. "I've even gone back to the car park and shopping centre where I almost ended it and have caught Pokémon there. I feel like I'm beating my demons."
One night Jack was out at the Town Hall and there were loads of people playing Pokémon. He sat down next to one guy, simply said, 'hi mate' and they began talking about the game.
Knowing how positively Pokémon Go has affected his life, Jack now hopes to start a movement helping others who suffer with depression and anxiety to get out and get active.
He said: "You don't necessarily have to play Pokémon. Pick something that helps you and that you enjoy and just do it.
"It's given me a new perspective on life. The game is so immersive and it really takes my mind off things.
"The other night I went back to the same spot [where I tried to commit suicide] to take a photo for Instagram. I didn't tell people why, but I needed to do it for me - to remind myself just how far I've come."
And he has come a fucking long way. It is all thanks to a game some people are obsessed by, some people are perplexed by and some people simply fucking hate.
But it just goes to show that literally anything can drag you out of depression and anxiety, you just need to find what's right for you.
Jack's project can be followed via an Instagram account he made specifically for it.
Let's hope he helps others as he's been able to help himself.
Words by George Pavlou
Topics: pokemon go
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read