I have never really openly discussed my mental health and the triggers that affect it. To be honest up until two or three years ago I didn’t know I had mental health problems at all. To me I was just a misanthrope who didn’t like the world or a huge percentage of the people in it. It never occurred to me that there were reasons I didn’t like things and that people without mental health problems couldn’t understand where the anger and hatred was coming from.
Let me tell you why I wanted to write this blog. I don’t have a lot of friends. My parents moved in 2012 and I was unemployed and had to move with them. This is nothing I could have changed. But I moved to an area where I didn’t know anybody. I had no friends. For the first two years I remained unemployed and YouTube became my staple friend. I could waste hours upon hours on YouTube. It was like a television channel where there was always something to watch. I was enamoured because I could always find something.
One of my regular channels was a YouTuber called Yogscast Kim. She played video games and did the occasional Vlog, funny sketch or interview with somebody famous. I really enjoyed all of the Yogscast videos but Kim’s were the videos where I became switched on about what was going on in my head. She would frequently talk about her past, her background in journalism and editing and I actually connected with what she would talk about (given that when I was unemployed the one thing I wanted to do was Journalism and interviews). Then, one day, she was just talking about her life and the things she does and she happened to mention that she found it weird, in a good way, that thousands of people watch her on YouTube, or that she gets to go and interview famous people, or that she sits on panels at conventions. And I felt the hatred course through my veins. I felt the anger boiling up inside me and I couldn’t explain it. I didn’t hate Kim, I knew that I didn’t hate her because she had actually done nothing to wrong me and just thirty seconds before I was watching her videos quite happily.
The problem was me. More specifically the problem was jealousy. After stopping the video, taking a step back and assessing why I was angry, I realised I was angry with myself and not anybody else. I was angry that I was a failure. I was angry that I wasn’t living that life. So after this came numerous attempts for me to try and emulate that lifestyle. YouTube video views are fickle and inexplicable, nobody can quite tell you what will be a hit and what won’t. So this anger would resonate inside of me when my videos would only get twelve views while everybody else seemed to be getting thousands. I even took this anger out on the few friends I did have, blaming them for my failure because they wouldn’t share or like my video or subscribe to my channel. But this was just a spiral downwards and I knew, deep down, that it wasn’t their fault. I was a failure in my own eyes.
This happened with a lot of people. I found myself no longer able to watch videos of people I had previously enjoyed because I felt the jealousy inside me getting too much. It would depress me so much that I would actually just feel numb, like life was happening around me and I was just a pointless waste of space in the world.
I still have trouble. I am a work in progress. Still, at times, I find myself having to switch off videos when I feel that feeling inside of me. And I can’t just quit YouTube. I don’t have local friends or local things to do, YouTube is my way of killing time. The sad thing is that it feels like an abusive relationship – YouTube can make me feel as crappy as it wants because it knows I will always come back because I don’t have any other options. And I’m not even sure I want other options, I like the people I watch on YouTube. I like their stories and their entertainment. I just don’t like the way I feel about myself.
If you were hoping for a happy solution then I apologise. I still don’t know what to do about this but it has helped me slightly to acknowledge that it’s jealousy that triggers these feelings and that I don’t actually hate people. When I think I hate people it’s usually because I hate myself for some reason.