How Role Playing Games Helps my Depression

I wrote this blog back in October but it really has relevance as I have been dealing with some minor depression. I have also wrote a guest blog for a blogger friend of mine that has relevance to how role playing games have helped me over the years deal with my Bipolar depression.

Gaming: How Role Playing Games are Mood Changers (A Guest Post by J. E. Skye)

Role Playing Video Games & Bipolar Depression

I wanted to write about a favorite subject of mine, Role-playing video games. I started playing Shadow of War this week, and it reminded me how role-playing games were always a great coping mechanism for my depression.

I have played role-playing games since I was a young kid playing Dungeons and Dragons at school with my fellow role-playing friends. It was always a fun and amazing experience, and I still remember going to my friend’s house in middle school for a D & D weekend.

It was around my early middle school years that I first started playing role-playing video games. The earliest one I remember was Diablo and its sequel Diablo II. These were the typical slasher role-playing games but there was still some layer of strategy. Then I discovered a game called Wizardry 8, a turn-based RPG that really changed my life.

Turn base is layering your strategy within the characters allowed in the game. It varies from game to game, and in Wizardry 8 you start with six but can have eight. You always should have a strategy. A tank player who can take damage, a couple of range attackers, a magic attacker, a rogue, a healer, and maybe even another strong frontline strong tank character.

Over the year’s games have gotten better. One of my favorite series (in which I have played every game) is the Elder Scrolls series. This series has even launched into the MMORPG type of game (massive-multiplayer online role-playing game.) MMO’s are so amazing because they always evolving and adding new things to the games like new mounts or events. The downside is that you have to spend a lot of real money in the game. I have played other great RPG series like the Dark Souls series (which each game is one of the hardest games I have ever played) and the Dragon Age series.  Just to name a few.

I have had a long history in playing RPG’s and MMO’s in my life, but this is about more than what I play. These games have always helped me cope when the real world gets too complicated.

I often talk about how depression has been in my life since I was a teenager or maybe even earlier. What appeals to me about role-playing games is that it allow me to escape the real world for hours or days at a time. That escape means the world to me because there have been so many times that I have been confined to my own residence for weeks, months, and even years at a time. (Due to depression or anxiety.)

In a role-playing game, I can be who I want to be, the hero the saves the day. I can make decisions in real time gaming that I would never do in real life. It’s an escape, even just for a moment. Role-playing games and the stories that are presented within the game always gets me. I write for the love of a good story. There so many great stories within the confines of a role-playing game. The characters all have their own story to tell.

There are times where we just want to escape from the reality of life because sometimes life is not easy to get through when you have a mental illness. I get to escape from reality within the books I read but it’s a different rush. I don’t have to do a whole lot when I play a role-playing video game. I have come up with so many levels of strategy over the years that role-playing games are like second nature to me, and I love them because escaping for a few hours is a great feeling.

I am curious about what you use to cope with depression?

J.E. Skye

Upgrading The Bipolar Writer Blog to Business

I am looking to expand The Bipolar Writer blog to new territories that include having the blog sell books for other artists (if I can make everything work). I am also looking to sell my own book here on my blog. I hate asking for donations but I have to do what I can.


Photo Credit: Pawel Kadysz

29 Replies to “How Role Playing Games Helps my Depression”

  1. I find this fascinating. I never thought there could be a reason to play a video game other than “entertainment”. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I see that. So no different than any outlet that might be helpful when a person is in need of a diversion. I’m glad to look at video games from this perspective.


  2. My husband plays video games and enjoys playing D&D online as a Dungeon Master. He’s always loved the fantasy of virtual living, rather than reality. It’s helped him with depression and the stressful life of his job. I’m really glad you have found something to keep your mind occupied!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. D&D helps me as well. My fiance, our friends and I play it every weekend, and I find that I’m just happier that day and the next. I’m glad RPG helps your depression. It’s great to see your progression:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Gauntlet II- my first RPG. Omg!!! I was hooked. Worked myself up through WOW for a bit, then Oblivion. Ugh, I miss gaming—sadly, I only use my PS3 for my T25 and Zumba DVD’s…. Don’t judge me…. -PSA, aka Danielle

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Many people don’t understand the connection between depression and video games. It’s an outlet, especially if you can relate to a character or if the game has a deep message, which they usually do. It’s also a great way to meet some fellow gamers (although there are some toxic people online). Overall, for people who have social anxiety, anxiety in general, depression like yourself and myself, gaming is a great way to cope. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Its amazing the power that gaming has on anxiety and depression. It’s great also for me to meet another gamer who shares a connection to gaming. I think that is why I love writing so much because I can create characters. It’s the same with gaming. It’s the journey and growth of the character that appeals to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I actually have a similar experience with role-playing games. Although they offer an escape, they actually help me in other ways. I experience executive dysfunctioning and cognitive deficits and most RPGs focus on resource management, planning attacks, etc… I absolutely adore the Final Fantasy series, to be honest. The stories are very engrossing and some even deal with issues surrounding mental health (albeit implicitly).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s important to find what works for you. If shooting games helps you through the tough times with depression than you do it. I always say, so it for you.


  7. Hi, thanks for your article! My mom has bipolar disorder. She doesn’t play games at all, but this is a good perspective for me to read about.

    I too have used games as escapism. When you’re dealing with a bleak and not too happy reality, it can be really nice to leave this world for a fictional one. I’ve also heard positive effects for people using games when they are dealing with chronic pain conditions. It takes us out of our bodies for a little while and helps us process what’s going on 🙂

    I know some people only see games for entertainment value, but I view them as so much more. People who game, especially folks who play role play games, usually understand at least 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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