Could Vlogging On YouTube Be Therapeutic For My Mental Illness?



Call me crazy... no, don't do that, because it would be insulting... but lately I have been getting the overwhelming urge to start a YouTube channel.

There are a few things fuelling this stupid desire:

  • The fact that I am turning 37 next week (which is just three years away from the big 4...0... yet somehow I have found myself back in exactly the same position I was in ten years ago - single, penniless, and living a lonely life in the city. The only difference is that I have replaced my human friendships and social life with decidedly one-sided relationships involving a cat and a dog.
  • The fact that I discovered last week that my ex, the one that I thought was "the one" is now engaged to be married to an upgraded and apparently perfect version of me. I need to achieve something amazing now in order to feel - much - better - about - myself.
  • The fact that I just really want to be rich and famous. All I need is money and fans. My million subscribers will give me the self-validation I need in order to love and accept myself, and my money will buy me happiness, not to mention reduce the financial stress that is currently triggering all of my mood swings.

It is, however, a stupid desire. Why? Because I am too old to be a vlogger, and my grey streaked hair gives me away. My mood swings are likely to make filming consistently blockbuster-level videos and uploading them every week - impossible. I'm also an introvert and I hate the way I look and sound on camera.

On the other hand, I read something about how "Vlogging can help people with severe mental illness overcome social isolation and aid recovery by building an online community".

I don't know about the "online community" bit, but this could be a way of making a million friends and being able to keep them all at a safe distance (on the other side of a laptop screen).

The sensible side of me can't help but think that exposing myself, basically to the world, could potentially unleash my nemesis (stress) into my life and cause utter chaos. The more romantic side of me wants to think of this as a therapeutic opportunity to express my writerly self in an even more creative form and free my untapped potential to become a beloved star, inspiring people all over the world to be amazing, just like me.

Today has been a funny kind of up/down day though. Fuelled by energy and optimism, I have embarked upon my YouTube journey, smartphone in hand, only to be rained upon by a stormcloud of doubt and self-loathing halfway through editing the footage. My cycle of courage, belief, positivity, self-love, grandiosity... and then doubt, fear, irritability, hatred, misery, and finally exhaustion... has completely taken over my afternoon and evening.

I have also been reading horror stories about the more negative impacts that Youtube has been having on the mental health of so many vloggers, with the experience of feverishly creating content in order to stay in front of people's eyeballs and not lose subscribers or income leading to inevitable burnout.

It is now way past my bedtime, which is never a good thing for someone with a mood disorder. Staying up late is a sure sign that my elevated mood is running away with itself. I think I will have to wrap it all up for today and see what tomorrow brings. I will come back to this post in the morning and review the situation.

...

Good morning everybody! I didn't go straight to bed last night - naughty naughty. I had too many ideas racing around in my head, and so I had to read my kindle for a while so that I could drift off thinking about Harry Potter and his magical friends instead of visualising my life as a Youtube celebrity, which would have kept me up all night in alternating states of awe-inspiring ambition and self-defeating dread. Despite staying up pretty late I am up bright and early this morning with a head brimming full of ideas... again.

I rose from my pillow with the perfect solution to all of my problems - What if I don't have to actually appear in the videos? What if I can animate them instead? True, I have no idea how to begin animating my scrawly curly-haired avatar, but not knowing how to do something has never stopped me from doing it in the past. So animation is essentially what I will be looking into today.

It's not going to be the same thing as vlogging though. The whole point of vlogging was to address my self-isolation issues and put me "out there". Animating my videos kind of defeats the point, I know this. However, I reckon the project will still provide some form of self-therapy, and while it may not bring me fame, it might make me rich, eventually. The content would after all be "evergreen" and hopefully lead to a passive Youtube income. Plus it would be awesome and highly validating to actually succeed at creating something that other people enjoy and may even find useful.

Wish me luck!

(Of course, this may just be another one of my unrealistic creative whims, fuelled by ever-so-slightly hypomanic energy... there's always that.)

Leave your thoughts in the comments below... DO YOU think I should start a YouTube channel? And don't forget to subscribe to the blog in the sidebar for updates on new posts.



If you don't really understand what cyclothymia is, it is a mood disorder on the bipolar spectrum, and you can read more about it HERE

I also have a descriptive post of what My Experience Of Cyclothymia Hypomania is like if you would like to find out more about what it is like to have an elevated mood.


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4 comments:

  1. I think vlogging will only add to your stress- and it’s not a good kind of stress Honestly, the blog is really good.. try to add a post a week.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dave! Yes I think you are right about the vlog, I decided against that haha! But I'm definitely going to plan a few posts ahead so that I have topics to write about and publish more frequently. I do have a habit of being a bit sporadic. Thanks for your comment!

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  2. Maybe that sounded harsh. It could very well be therapeutic.. and I’m no expert lol. I think the main reason I gave the idea a thumbs down is because it stressed _me_ out just thinking of the work required
    to put out high qualityYouTube videos and the challenge of developing a loyal audience :). Short sided on my part.

    You have the personality and screen like-ability to pull a project like this off, actually. Only thing you need to be careful of is having too full a plate .. each of your other businesses need attention to thrive.. so adding more and more things can get out of control damage your other product lines.

    Take care-
    David

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dave, I didn't think your previous comment was harsh at all, I love an honest opinion or feedback :) And you are totally right. I don't think I'm into the whole YouTube idea quite as much as when I wrote the post. Typical me! I admire the people who have made their YouTube channels a success, but I don't envy them for the hard work and mental strain.

      Thanks for your compliments and advice! I am really trying to "minimise" my output so that I can better focus on the things that are most important to me in the long-term, because as you say, it's easy to dilute things if you add too much to the pot.

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I write about a variety of topics, including mental disorders (like bipolar, cyclothymia, depression and anxiety) but also everyday mental health challenges and self-care tips. Subscribe to my mailing list and never miss a post...