Photography: George J Rockett
Words & Edit: Zoe London
We’re built to always bounce back.
Ugh, have you ever felt like you lost all motivation completely and all you can do is slug out on the sofa? Yup, me too. Actually, that was me just a couple of weeks ago.
But i’ve bounced back and every single time I do, I feel renewed, refreshed, revitalised. I can never explain what causes it, but I really think there deeply is always something within us that makes us always bounce back and makes us remember why we’re here, and why we do what we do. It’s really natural and really really normal to feel low, and sad, and the more we talk about these points in our lives as well as the happier times, the more normal within society it will become.
I really feel like we’re on the edge of a shift with attitude toward mental health.
Something is definitely changing at the moment, more and more campaigns are being launched and more musicians, artists, celebrities are opening up and talking about the tough points we all go through. Suicide is still the biggest killer of men in our country and we can all do more to prevent this going forward.
I spent some time at the weekend talking to musicians on the Reading Festival lineup, and every time I get the opportunity to talk to them, I always want to delve a little deeper than just scraping what’s on the skin of the album. I want to talk about them. Slowly but surely more men are talking to their friends, their families and their loved ones about the issues they face (and the women of course) and these musicians can elevate themselves up onto a platform to encourage more to be done. Using their voice, their influence and just giving others the comfort in knowing they are not alone is so powerful.
I think being a YouTuber is tricky on your mental health in a way people don’t realise.
You know that horrible sinking feeling you get when you read one of your friends bitching about you on Facebook, or sending a sly shady tweet aimed at you?
Imagine opening your comment box, logging in to twitter to hit notifications or opening your emails to find a flurry of hatred like that, every single day. That’s the reality for a lot of our YouTubers and I often find myself concerned for the lack of mental health help available. It’s worrying that the new generation of creators online just seem to get younger and younger, and aren’t taught about how living a life online and reaching incredible heights of fame, money and success at the age of 14 for example isn’t realistic. Not only is it dealing with the comedown of it crashing down in later years, but knowing they are being opened up to a flurry of online abuse is something I think we should all be mindful of.
I don’t think for a minute the same people reading this blog are the same ones leaving nasty comments on videos, so that part of this isn’t aimed at you, but I think we’re all a little guilty of passively consuming media, or sitting and watching dramas unfold without actually sticking up for those who are on the receiving end. There’s definitely a witch hunt mentality that puts a lot of creators in a tricky place of losing motivation, and we could all do a little better to be kinder online.
My mental health took a battering, but I found my passion again.
I know for some people depression and sadness within their mental health is an ongoing battle to face, and I can’t talk much from experience because while of course I dip my toes into this arena i’ve never fully felt that way. I struggle with chronic illness which is absolutely debilitating and takes me to a horrible place every time it renders my body useless, but I do manage to pick myself back up out of it.
A lust for life.
I know we all have it, but for some people it’s a little harder to find. Let me talk you through ways I help dig mine back out when I feel the dark cloud approaching over my head.
I think the easiest thing is to focus straight away on your hobbies. Even when you feel so desperately sad, painting, drawing, writing, reading, blogging, YouTubing, sewing… fishing… I mean whatever your hobby is, that moment of clarity even if it’s just an hour or two away from the bed or the slug sofa can really lift you both mentally and physically.
I find a quick photography session or just enveloping my mind into new ideas for videos really helps me. I also find time away from social media very therapeutic, and while resigned to my bed when the illness kicked in i’m limited on what I can do, switching my phone off (actually I just let it die) and watching my favourite TV show (Ugly Betty) for me constituted a good day. A happy day. Not every day has to be the biggest and best ever to be a happy day.
I think together we need to reach out to our favourite creators.
Working from home, for yourself and in an industry where every bit of you is critiqued, as well as spending all day looking at yourself isn’t normal. From the outside, your favourite creator might seem like they have it all together, all packaged up in a lovely glossy edited photograph. Behind the scenes it may be a different story. Spread a little love, radiate positive energy, ask them how they are when you see them at conventions/gigs and reach out to them like you would a friend.
We all have a lust for life in there, sometimes it just takes a little more digging on some days more than others. Thank you for helping me reach my sunshine out of the darkness.
If you wanna chat to someone about depression, text Mind on 86463.