Fighting Depression Through Trucking: Euro Truck Sim 2

I've been depressed lately.

Maybe it's the state of the world, maybe it's the state of my life, but the only thing I can think to do is curl up and sleep. My favorite games don't interest me, my favorite people exhaust me, I can't control my mood, and the slightest irritating noise sets me off (I'm very emotionally sensitive to sound).

In times like these it's important to find something that centers and calms you. Maybe it's tea and a nice book, or maybe it's murdering hundreds of bad guys in Dynasty Warriors.

In my case, it's Euro Truck Sim 2.

ETS2 is, as the name suggests, a trucking simulation game. You take a truck out on the roads of Europe and deliver cargo from one major city to the next. You start by working jobs for other trucking companies to build experience, until to eventually buy your own truck and start a trucking company. From there, you employ other drivers and expand your range of operations much like any other business sim, such as Transport Tycoon.

You don't really understand the sense of scale ETS2 has until you play it, though. A single route varies wildly in time, from five minutes to an hour. Traffic is constant and can result in series hold-ups. You have to obey local traffic laws, which slows you down; this isn't GTA, you gotta do the basics like turning on your headlights, stopping at red stop lights, and other such driving rules.

When you're cruising down desolate European highways at 40kph in the dead of night, no other drivers in sight, you lose that sense of simulation, of realness. You feel a lazily drifting feeling that makes you yawn yet keeps you awake, makes your eyelids heavy but focuses your attention. When you're that alone, when you have nothing else to focus on and nobody to blame, you turn inward.

ETS2 is peaceful desolation. It is a dried lake strewn with dirt, sand, and pebbles. It is a savannah plain. It is a desert dune. ETS2 is about you - nobody else - and dealing with your own problems. Trucking doesn't matter, deliveries don't matter, the company doesn't matter. Just you.

Even when you've returned to the city and you have to deal with the NPC drivers and their constant pile-ups and traffic jams, you retain that sense of peace. Even when you turn on the radio and listen to right-wing talk radio, or dubstep, or classical, or rock, or rap, you feel silent. You exist, and that's all.

Depression isn't a disease with a cure. All we can do is cope with our hatred, our loneliness, our overwhelming sense of dread. ETS2 strips those feelings and leaves you a shell, an empty vessel to fill with more positive things.

We all need a little peace. ETS2 is where I find mine.

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