The Truth about Mental Illness and D&D

How D&D is saving me.

Charlie Brown
Mar 11, 2016 · 4 min read

This is based on my Personal Experiences , and each person’s journey will differ , but over all i feel this is a fair story . However for redundancies sake , I am Biased .

I have a Diagnosed Mental illness , I suffer from Anxiety , and Major Depression . I have also been Diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder , which i have mostly worked out through therapy .

The truth of these are , i dont want to make freinds , or be social . I need too .

Most days i dont want to get out of bed , and not in a way like most people , I just want to stop , and not go on . I have chest pains , coupled with my Physical disablity which hinders everything i do with pain .

I have alot of Negative reinforcement before i even try to do anything and its all trapped inside of me in some way .

D&D , gaming itself , saved me . It saves me everyday .

Why ?

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I get to go to a world i get to share with others and in those moments my disabilities dont matter . to any of them .

I have become a mentor to people wanting to learn the game , and share games with their kids , and I am in a community of supportive people , that these adventures bond together 4 hours a week .

D&D gave me a life i couldn't have had otherwise . Though i still hurt and my body screams at me to quit , i dont , i honor my commitments .

All my doubts fall away when i sit down and we begin playing.

Now the truth is i long to sit as a player , and when i do i feel like i spend alot of time runnign my mouth and doing things in the game cause its an overload on solving a mystery , i never get to solve .

those players who have trouble socializing i encourage them , defer to them , engage with them and slowly watch them crawl out of their shells .

Together we watch as they save towns , find people , defeat villains , and come together to win the day , or mourn ttheir losses , and find a way to return their fallen to the battle field .

As players they get to live out their interests in a game and see consequences , problem solve by looking for answers outside of the box , and we all as a group , have the best night of weaving a tale .

We all start as strangers , and when he loose freinds we make we miss them .

so many of these people are moms, dads , Soldiers , mechanics lawyers police officers , waiters , and every other wok of life .

people like me . People who cant make them selves go , or fear the world outside and hide it because the shame of that fear is over whelming and adds to the fear .

however , here at this table , they are all heroes , in one way or another .

to us in those moments its all that matters . We get to take that feeling with us . Often its better than medication of traditional therapy . It heals , and bonds , and fills in those cracks .

the world for a bit is a little more tolerable . i know this because i can move back into it .

I haven't loved every table i have sat at . I haven't liked all of the players or DMs , but i have a good time none the less .

Its like when your a kid in little league at practice , and you hit that homer . You feel like now you can hit all the home runs , and it stays with you .

D&D isnt for everyone , not everyone can immerse themselves .

D&D does create connections , and not just with others , alot of times , I leave feeling like i made a connection with myself .

I close all of these with a saying , i want to explain . You see , therapy isnt something you can discuss with other people , so reliving that healing moment is hard . Much like good books , however , D&D creates these stories you can retell people , and you get that moment of relief in the memories .

Not to be morbid but the games i played with my children , my own , or those i took in under my wing , are the memories they will share about me . They will have joy in the stories they tell ,and things we did together .

I have friends i see seldom , but remember often in stories to others about things that happened in our games .

If you need a reaosn to go out , find a store locator on the wizards of the coast website , and try D&D , play with those around you , and try it out .

Adventures live in your heart forever . even if your arms cant carry the sword , or you cant cast the magic , its still inside of you . You can go live those experiences with the world . Even if that world is make believe.

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