Earlier this year, it struck me to the core that my quality of life has changed dramatically for the better because of D&D. It’s practically a form of free therapy without ever feeling vulnerable. I even sent a message to my cousin saying, “I don’t want to be melodramatic, but I sincerely feel that D&D has saved my life.” And as it turns out, hundreds of other people feel the same way.
I discovered it at a time when I started to hate everything I wrote. I believed I wasn’t going to be worth anything to the world after all. I wanted so much to share stories, but no publisher or agent was taking me on. I worked day-and-night to improve and edit and follow through on editorial advice, but maybe, said the voice in my head, “I’m just awful.” And if I was awful at writing, the one thing that gave me a purpose in life, then I had no purpose after all and nothing about my existence was worthwhile.
Since becoming a D&D Game Master, I’ve felt so much joy about my creative capabilities. I’m world-building and writing plots for my friends, and they don’t just say, “That’s great, you wrote something,” they devour every aspect of the world and give me instant gratification for my writing. They show me that I can write and that I write great stories. The extra bonus is that I get to make props and perform, and I have always adored drama and voice acting.
For me, D&D is both a creative purpose and another world that breathes and matters. It develops cooperation, negotiation, imagination, creative problem-solving, and there’s very little to tell you, “No, you can’t do that”. It’s a social game of make-believe where we can be anything we want and it feels like our actions carry worthwhile meaning.
In a recent video from Fandom Entertainment called Defeat Your Demons with Dungeons & Dragons, Matt Mercer said that “I think it’s a testament to the power of storytelling. I think it’s also a testament to creating spaces without judgement, and understanding that everybody is hurting, everybody wants to be happy, everybody’s looking for somewhere to belong and looking for other people to tell them that they’re loved.”
If you don’t know what D&D consists of, it’s really difficult to express how empowering and uplifting the experience can be. My everyday life is now filled with the promise of sharing stories and the joy of building worlds. I look at my kitchen table and imagine the seats filled with my friends playing their characters and feel intense warmth. I now get to share it as part of my job at the library, which is considered a facet of our mental health and isolation care. Imagine if we could run the club more than once a week with multiple groups, the benefits would spread further.
Fandom Entertainment’s video made me teary by the end, and I’d like to share it with you because D&D is amazing. It saves lives. It’s changed my life.