Monday, 17 April 2017

Confessions of a depressed hobbyist.

I'm kinda hoping that this will provide a cathartic experience for me, i'm hoping even more that people will recognise many of the things I'm going to talk about. Maybe it will even prove helpful to some though i'm certainly not egotistical enough to be writing it for this purpose.

No, the main reason for writing this other than the sense of catharsis is to explain the dearth of content on the Conclave for I cannot deny that my output has dropped drastically of late. Depression kicks your hobby in the balls in many ways. I can only apologise. For sometime now the vast majority of content on the Conclave has been produced by myself and I just have not been able to do it recently.

So what i'll do is discuss what I like to think of as the three core pillars of the hobby and how my condition has affected them.  This probably wont be a long article. I suspect I'll run out of motivation quite quickly.

So before I decide I'm wasting your time onward to Pillar 1:


More specifically, reading. This is quite possibly one of the most significant ways in which my hobby has been hobbled. Put bluntly, I am finding it VERY hard to read for any significant amount of time at the moment. And I'm not just talking about novels. Although I am stuck halfway through Leman Russ, at an utter impasse, unable to absorb anymore of what I am reading and therefore left in a literary limbo (hope you are enjoying the alliteration)

And indeed the last book I DID manage to read I have held off of reviewing. For the record  it is Cybernetica, a Horus Heresy Novella, and the reason I have held off reviewing it is that quite frankly I cannot be sure i am delivering an impartial review. I simply did not enjoy it and I cannot be sure that this is not as a result of my current mental state. I certainly didn't think it was badly written but i'm not prepared to write up on it without knowing for sure my feelings about it.

And therefore I will not be reviewing any books at the moment for this very reason. It sucks! I was always a voracious reader and devoured books like a Hive Fleet devours planets, loving to lose myself in them and then review  what I had read, which, if you will allow me a brief moment, I felt  I was actually pretty good at. In the meantime my to read list grows. I had rather been making some progress on it too.

Because of course, we do tend to gravitate towards these fantasy worlds, and by we I mean people of a certain outlook (not depressed). After all, lets face it, the real world is such a horrible place who could blame us for wanting to hide away in distant and exotic realms? Not that the 41st Millennium could be seen as any kind of utopia that you would want to live in! But in general the literature I partake in is meant to provide an escape.

Except that I cannot do it. Not at the moment. Even something like Fall of Cadia, which is broken up into MANY bite size pieces is proving a challenge at the moment. White Dwarf is about my limit and even there I am struggling. Nothing grabs me, its all passe and bland. At least I know it will not last. It never does thankfully. It comes and goes, peaks and troughs, bad days and good. It's just more bad days than good at the moment. I'm sure some of you will be able to relate.

And obviously this also affects my creative writing as well, Ferdinand Cardinal, any Hobby articles, all on hiatus till me brain  sorts itself out. It's all in my head however, I have umpteen ideas every day and they all just sit in my head, gestating and embryonic. Some of them might materialise, most likely not. Let's just say that there are a great deal of articles in draft at various degrees of completion. I've managed to do a review of the Shadow War box and that's about it.


The second most important part of the hobby to me, including assembly and painting.

Assembly doesn't come too hard even at the moment to be honest. I am quite capable of constructing a model no matter how low I feel. Conversions are a little more tricky and usually minor but following the instructions and just putting the model together is not too taxing and actually fairly therapeutic as it feels like I am achieving something.

However, painting? Well that's a completely different matter sadly. Especially when it comes to armies.

Now, I have NEVER been the most prolific painter. Even at the best of times I'll find painting an army a total slog as I try to strike a balance between quality and productivity. Not that i'm a particularly good painter either, but I do have a certain amount of pride in what I DO produce and refuse to lower my own standards just to get something on the table.

So it is that I find armies a little bit of an uphill struggle, I don't do myself any favours  by making them more complicated than they need to be.

But at the moment? Downright impossible. Take my Ultramarines, Ok they are now going to be both a Heresy AND 40K army but I just cant get on with them at the moment, I haven't even worked out how i'm going to paint them (though I can tell you it will involve an airbrush.) In the meantime Lee steams ahead with his Word Bearers. Its getting embarrassing. There is a good chance that the Heresy Book series will be done and dusted by the time I am ready to take to the field (then again-  maybe not)

Nonetheless I have always advocated painting as an excellent form or relaxation and very therapeutic so I HAVE been picking up the paintbrush as much as i can bring myself to. My chosen subject? Star Wars imperial Assault. (and more recently Shadow Wars Armageddon Kill Team - this is another of those articles that has been in limbo for a bit)

Not only have I got to do very little thinking about painting them, (after all lets be honest the scheme is somewhat predetermined) I have a very good idea of what standard is achievable. The new sculpts are much improved but there is a limited amount you can do with the original core miniatures. Still, I have done the best I can with them and am for the most part, quite satisfied.

But it doesn't take much to change that. I was painting some Rebel Troopers and the sleeves just weren't going right, I hadn't primed them properly and the paint finish and coverage just wasn't up to scratch. So I got dejected, rather than mess them up anymore they were shoved to the side and something else was picked up instead. and this is why I have lots of half painted Imperial Assault miniatures. Still, some people play without even painting them and I am enjoying getting them done.

And speaking of gaming here is the final pillar or core of the hobby.


Now I have to confess, I have never been the most active gamer even at the best of times. Certainly those games that I do play I tend to play with a very select group and do not stray from outside that group. Call it a comfort zone if you will, I know what i'll be getting and I know that no matter win lose or draw i'll enjoy the game. Which is the most important thing, well as far as i'm  concerned anyway

It's also a group with a decent appreciation for the narrative over the said game's meta. Well for the most part at least. Recently we have been playing Hammerhal which has been a lot of fun and now we have turned our attention to Shadow Wars Armageddon. I have for the most part shied away from bigger games. This has sometimes meant that I have let people down, hell it was only due to literally being dragged out one evening that I started playing outside of mine or Lees home again at all.

Other than that I have gravitated towards boardgames recently. Throwing a fair chunk of my income at FFG and the like. Unlike a wargame Boardgames require a lot less effort, being much more self contained and less taxing. No painting, well, it's optional.

Thankfully, (well I think so anyway) self contained game releases have never been so frequent. Even discounting Kickstarters and the like there is plenty out there to keep me busy.

So that's about it. as I said, I'm really not sure about this one. I hope it doesn't come across as too self indulgent and pretentious and i'm still having second thoughts about publishing this. In the event that I do please feel free to comment below with any thoughts you may have.


  1. I understand where you're at, been there for years myself. I find small steps and bite size (like you said) helps, but really I feel you may be up for just a plain old school holiday. Get out and about, declare a break from the hobby for a set period and go do new and different things. The other thing is to put away your stuff out of sight. Nothing brings me back to the hobby like not having seen it for a while. If you surround yourself with it, it can lead to it becoming everyday and mundane. After a while you will find yourself digging out your painting kit or "that book" you never finished and you will feel refreshed. Oh and if you put boxes of "to do" stuff on a book shelf or visible in a cabinet..? Put it away, only surround yourself with finished projects. This may miss the mark for you but perhaps it may help in some small way. Either way, good luck and above all else, Have Fun! Russ @ Warhammergateway dot com (PS if you go to my blog site , you will notice a lack of updates... that is because I'm actually DOING hobby rather than posting about it ;) hehe)

    1. I get where you are coming from Russ, sometimes i look at my horde of unpainted models and get a bit down, especially when i keep adding to them. Still I look at them and it keeps my brain busy as i think of schemes and such. Im' putting together Harlequins atm. It's a fine line between keeping myself busy and overwhelmed!

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think hobbying provides solace for many people with depression, anxiety, both, whatever mental health struggle is in your cocktail of brain stuff. For myself, it's anxiety and depression. In many ways, 40k, modeling, painting, provide a great escape... until they don't.

    You turn to hobbying to get a foothold against your depression, and it feels great! You add more and more models, model them, paint them, play with them, and you think, this is it! Who needs meds, I've got Space Marines!

    But then, your general depression/anxiety starts to creep into the hobby... why aren't my models turning out the way I want them? Why can't I paint faster? It feels like my opponents don't want to play with me... ect. Now, your escape is the prison. Where do you go? You shut down, don't go near your hobby, don't go near anything... where do you go?

    I've gotten myself into this trap many times. It's frustrating, and the frustration builds because I know it's all in my head. I've found the best solution is to get back to basics. Pick up one model, one model you want to paint, or assemble, or anything. It doesn't matter if its in your army, or on your schedule, or whatever. Paint it, model it, assemble it, because you want to. So it's not getting your army finished. So what? It's part of you getting back on your feet. Professional athletes get injured, and go through recovery. They don't go right back onto the field, the first day they feel ok to play again. They stretch, they train, they build themselves back up. If the guys who win the Stanley Cup have to do it, you have to do it too (I am a hockey fan, insert whichever shiny trophy fits best for you!)

    The thing I'm always proud of, the thing I love, about the Warhammer hobby is that ultimately, it's a hobby of shared regard and respect for each other's skill, dedication and craftsmanship, watching what people can do with just a few hours of getting away from it all, to make something astonishing. Your reviews, painting, modeling, ect, are all inspiring, so I hope that you're able to push through this, one step at a time, and carry on. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and know that many hobbyists are there with you.