The forest was a place where I had obsessed over a few years back, done way too much research on, because I was in a really bad place and got stuck on the thought that it was the most romantic and perfect setting to end my life.
Logan Paul’s insensitivity stemmed from his ignorance, his attempt to raise awareness for something he had no real understanding for. He took the devastating end of someone’s long, painful battle with himself and sensationalized it for his own personal gains. I can’t fathom the effect it will have on his audience who are struggling with or have struggled with mental illnesses.
But with the rise of every “villian”, a league of superheroes rise in response to fight the darkness, the natural corrective mechanism that exists within our world. I’m so heartened to see that this situation is no different, surrounding the controversy a flood of mental illness education, suicide hotlines and much-needed conversations.
Depression is something I had personally struggled with for a long time, before shit got serious and it led to suicidal thoughts. I had been saved by the most fortunate confluence of external and internal factors.
What I saw during my experience was the severe lack of general knowledge about mental illnesses in our society. As a result, the afflicted lack awareness and are held back by their shame to ask for help. Those around them lack the sensitivity to deduce that something is off and even if they did, didn’t really know how to help.
While it may seem that Youtube is dishing out all that bad press lately, there are good forces existing within the platform, content which spread the right kind of information and knowledge about mental health, incredibly helpful when you can’t stand the thought of leaving your bed.
Taking this opportunity to highlight some honest, authentic and amazing creators who have put the sun in my darkened room of tightly shut binds:
- Anna Akana – https://www.youtube.com/user/AnnaAkana
- Kati Morton – https://www.youtube.com/user/KatiMorton?pbjreload=10
- Dodie – https://www.youtube.com/user/doddlevloggle/videos
- Hannah Hart – https://www.youtube.com/user/MyHarto
- Shane Dawson – https://www.youtube.com/user/shane/featured
It’s a strange, liberating experience to be able to talk about my depression so openly. This time last year, it was a skeleton in my closet, a secret I had to conceal and even resort to lying to myself about for fear of accidentally disclosing it to those around me. That was me, taking ginger steps into the thickets, where the road of recovery began. Mentally unstable and fear ridden.
Now, it feels very much like I’ve reached a clearing and have conquered the forest, picked up essential survival skills and am able to see the light seeping through the canopy again. I’m surprised to find friends a few steps behind me, the same experiences I had thought existed only within my head, and that I had the ability this time to offer tips and most importantly, be there for them.
Mom hates my guts though.
She’s part of the generation that believes mental illnesses should be hidden from the normal world, survivor or not. Her concern was that my friends will move away from me and that people will see me differently now, possibly treating me with malice. Valid, I will say but those are merely insignificant side effects. I care more about being able to make someone feel less alone in their experiences (which I did in mine) and to keep in close touch with those who can accept me, despite my flaws and struggles.
The start of 2018 is proving to be an opening to something much greater than myself, an upheaval of my inner landscape, brutal honesty with myself, trust falling into love and diving headlong into new, uncharted territories.
*cue dramatic music*
Bring on the painful lessons.
Bring on the sweet rewards.
I’ll be here for it.