YouTube & My Mental Health

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I started watching YouTube videos my freshman year of high school and quickly became obsessed. The YouTubers I watch have changed over the years, but my enjoyment of YouTube has not faltered. Some people binge watch Netflix; I binge watch YouTube. Throughout my many years watching, I would sometimes imagine myself starting a YouTube channel, but I never did. This was due to various reasons such as fear, being busy, and not knowing how, but a few weeks ago I put all the excuses aside and just started a YouTube channel. And I am so thankful that I did. It has helped me through some tough weeks this semester.

YouTubers are always there for me. I feel more connected to people I follow on the internet than most people I know in real life. Even though other YouTubers don’t know me by name, I see their life and who they are. They are people doing cool things and making something of themselves. I believe in the power of hearing people’s stories and with YouTube I get to be a part of that every single day. When I am lonely beyond repair I will often watch my favorite YouTubers and for those fleeting moments I don’t feel alone. When I am with people who don’t understand me I feel more alone than I feel when watching these inspirational creators. YouTubers care about making quality content that is filled with life from its boring moments to its most thrilling adventures, and each step of the way these people are celebrated for being their genuine selves.

Since starting my own YouTube channel, I have found a lot of joy when I am making videos, something that’s hard to come by with depression. The act of having something to work on that is attainable and realistic helps a lot. Many of my goals feel much more distant, but making a video is something I can do in a day or two. And more importantly, filming and editing content is a creative outlet for me. I have been into photography for a year or so now, but have become increasingly more infatuated with the hobby because it gets me to think in creative ways and appreciate what is around me. My YouTube channel can be an extension of my photography as I work on learning more about videography.

I am still figuring out exactly how I want to use my channel, but I am hoping it can be an important form of self-expression for me. I love vlogs (video blogs), which are often my favorite videos to watch of other YouTubers. I have really liked filming the fashion videos I have made thus far. I want to use it as a platform where I can share my thoughts, but also have fun. In some ways it will be similar to my blog, but it also is different. A lot of my posts on here are focused on mental health, which is an important piece of my work, but I don’t want it to be everything. In the future I would like to incorporate some videos on mental health, but overall my YouTube channel will be focused on other aspects of my life.

I want to maintain myself through my presentation on social media, but that can be a challenge at times. So many people do it for the fame, make videos that are going to get the most views, and post pictures that will get the most likes. I’ll admit I am not immune to this, but I am making it a goal of mine to stay true to myself and my aesthetic. I want my artistic work to have a purpose whether that is artistic expression or intellectual insight. I feel like this is harder to do on Instagram than YouTube because I can much more easily voice my opinions on YouTube. This blog space has also been an important place to do that. I want my brain to come through in my work because I don’t want to fall subject to the gender norm of women just being for eye candy. I love beauty and fashion videos just as much as the next girl, but don’t want to be complicit in perpetuating rigid gender roles. So I need to be cognizant of creating content that supports my goals and values.

When I started this blog it was with the intention of helping me during ED recovery, which at that time it did help. This blog is still an important space for me, but am I also excited to explore a different platform. YouTube is a new outlet for me to try and challenge some of my ED thoughts. It is hard for me to have an accurate body image of myself, but watching myself in videos has actually been good for me. It shows me that I look healthy, but still relatively thin. I love being able to use fashion to express who I am and that I can use my body to do that. It makes me feel good when I put together a great outfit and post a cute picture in it or make a video with it. If I can find some level of satisfaction in what my body can do for me, such as be used to film videos and wear cute clothing, then I don’t need ED quite as much. ED has been my coping mechanism for a long time now, and by no means is it just going to magically go away (although wouldn’t that be nice), but I find comfort in knowing I can make progress. And if YouTube can help with that, then I am going to keep making videos, full steam ahead!

Also, YouTube helps get me out of my depressed rut. Even if it may only be for a few hours, it still brings me pleasure while also being productive and finding some purpose. (My therapist likes those “p” words.) I feel happy when I am filming and editing videos. I like having a platform for my ideas and my life. I am excited to document my life and be able to look back on it. The internet is full of pros and cons, but ultimately I am enthusiastic about what I am working on through YouTube. If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check it out!

 

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