Warhammer 40k Saved Me From Depression
I’ve only recently gotten into the tabletop gaming scene.
The story on how I got into it is a bit of an odd one. This time last year, I was in a relationship with someone I was entirely convinced was “the one.” We were two years strong into our time together, bonding on everything from our taste in movies, to our taste in games, and enjoyed each other’s company.
Around late May 2018, shortly after we had to cancel our plans to attend Rock on the Range in Ohio, I was blindsided when she said—I just didn’t feel that connection anymore.
I’ll spare the details. there’s not much there beyond us going different ways.
However, there I was, sitting on a small nest egg I’d been setting aside in secret, not only for an engagement ring, but to either move her here or allow me to relocate there and find new employment. I looked at that money, and I could feel depression starting to seep in as my plans for the future had suddenly been shattered. Everything that money had been intended for had been blown away, and in a depressed state, I came to the conclusion that the money was tainted.
As long as I had that nest egg, I’d have a reminder.
For years I’d had some friends trying to get me into the tabletop game, Warhammer 40,000. The aesthetic had always been interesting—I enjoyed the brutality and grim-dark sci-fi aspects of it—and it looked like they’d be fun to build and paint. The game itself looked incredibly complex and fun to learn. It led to me browsing both Games Workshop and ForgeWorld, just admiring the different factions the game had to offer, which then led to me picking the Space Wolves of the Adeptus Astartes (the “space marines”).
With a design that looked like vikings in space, how could I say no? It started with a few Space Wolf tactical squads, a Stormfang Gunship, a Venerable Dreadnought, and Ulrik the Slayer. Over the next week, I built them all up and painted them. Not bad for my first time doing anything like this, if I do say so myself.
From there, I was hooked.
Over the next several months,my army expanded. I suddenly had a massive collection of rule books, I was even pulling family members into the hobby. All the money I’d saved for a future with my ex was now building up a massive tabletop military. The numbers grew, but I had been painting them one at a time to make each one is something special, while using each as a chance to hone my skills.
The game itself is a blast, but more than anything, assembling this army in a way I see fit has been cathartic. Even liberating.
All the weight of depression that sat to sit on my shoulders went away, and while it wasn’t perhaps the most fiscally responsible way to handle a breakup, it got me into a new hobby that I cherish and enjoy as I have with my many years of video games.
In a weird way, 40k became an antidepressant when I needed it, and now that I’m through that dark time in my life, it’s here to stay as another notch in my nerd belt. My little story is one of many reasons why gaming in general, whether it be tabletop or video games, has become something so special to the communities involved in it.
It’s not just that it’s fun—it’s an escape from some of the sudden turns in our lives that may have otherwise shattered us. Any number of games out there has helped contribute to saving someone from the depths of despair in one way or the other, and aided them until they were in good spirits again.
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