A little about myself:
I struggle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It isn’t glamorous, fun, exciting, or romantic. Quite the opposite. It negatively impacts my life. Every day is a battle to maintain motivation, stable relationships, etc.
Writing, whether poetry or fiction, has been one of the best coping mechanisms. Escapism into fantasies where I can create a safe space for myself, and an opportunity to give voice to the storms which roll beneath the surface.
Recently I have discovered building and painting Warhammer40k models to be an incredibly relaxing and focusing exercise. I have enjoyed the art, imagery, and stories of the Warhammer and Warhammer40k universes, but I have also been apprehensive about purchasing models.
Mostly this apprehension has been out of fear that I would ruin these wonderful figures. They’re also expensive, and I would hate to invest in these models only to wreck them through lack of talent. I am a man on a budget after all.
I got past the apprehension a couple months ago when I purchased a starter set of models for the game after receiving my tax refund. I believed the exercise of building and painting would be helpful in dealing with anxiety and depression.
For weeks I watched “how to” videos on YouTube, consulted with long time hobbyist, and looked over as much art as I could find related to the building and painting of these cool models before finally cracking open my first box and giving this exercise a try.
I practiced painting on a handful of models I got many years ago. I experimented with layering and painting techniques, shading, and highlighting. When I felt comfortable with brush and paint, I began working on my first figure.
To my surprise, I found that I didn’t completely suck. I really enjoyed the building process, and I found painting to be an even more enjoyable experience. The whole thing was calming. Focusing. It was just me in that moment bringing a model to life.
Since my first build, I have built four other models. I hope to purchase more models in the future, but it will be slow going – like I said, I’m a man on a budget and this is an expensive hobby.
For now, I am enjoying the models I do have. The experience really does help with this whole PTSD/depression/anxiety thing which makes me a better person as a whole. And I am so grateful for that.