Tabletop roleplaying games, known as TTRPGs, are a very influential form of escapism. Games like dungeons and dragons allow people to explore within a persona other than their own and with limits much farther than the world in front of them. This creates a perspective that if anything can be done in that world, the brick walls seem more possible to break through in reality.
When looking at entering a new persona, with different emotions, friends and experiences in life one can really leave behind their own worries. When it comes to mental health, it is very difficult to deal with constantly and becoming a fantasy character who is either an exaggerated version of some part of oneself, completely different or really anything, makes a few hours of time where that illness can fade away. It is a break of quiet in the chaos of one’s brain.
Having these breaks are so important in feeling okay, and being able to relate back to that feeling. I have noticed this so much myself as someone with Major Depressive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and more. It is hard to feel stuck with a brain that feels out to get you but when you get to either use that or just pretend to be someone completely different that you can embrace your mind into it makes such a difference in opening up. Then furthermore being able to channel parts of those characters and become comfortable in groups because of that.
I DM a lot of games and therefore have seen in my players as well as people have come out of their shell in the game and outside of it simultaneously and helped them past their anxiety through letting loose in an environment where they can just be silly and wonderful without any judgement.
Adding onto this, people in the LGBTQ community are also commonly associated with the TTRPG community because of that same form of escapism. As a queer, non-binary person myself I found that often when the world seemed so difficult and figuring out who I am, being able to just be someone other than myself and not have to worry about whoever I may be and only them was so helpful in making me feel grounded and calming my self and thoughts. It also allows one to explore so many different personas and find something that makes you feel so comfortable in that skin. Whether that is a mix of different aspects of characters or you have created the character that you aspire to become.
Contributed by Capri Smith