The Thing About Getting Better
A few weeks ago, I shared with you guys that I left Cambridge University due to a mental health issue. To be more precise, I was diagnosed as clinically depressed. I was actually diagnosed with this illness months earlier and had already left Cambridge in April, but it took me a while to be ready to talk about it on social media.
I knew that at some point, I would have to explain it since people started to notice that I was not back in Cambridge like all of my friends were (and I also made no effort to hide it). I ended up making a video to explain what had happened and to hopefully show people going through something similar that getting help helps:
But while it is easy to say things like that in a five-minute video, it is a lot harder to follow through with getting help. I have seen a psychotherapist over the past months and it has helped a lot. At first, it made me worse. A lot worse. But at some point, it got a lot better. People usually tell you that therapy leads to gradual improvements until you reach a point where you are ready to stand on your own feet without help again, but it was quite different for me. I literally walked into a therapy session a few weeks ago and whatever my therapist threw at me, I was able to shrug it off and not let it get to me. Somehow, I was better.
This coincided with the publication of the video I inserted above and I think the video had a huge impact on me and my healing process. Making it was hard. I had to put the script down several times before picking it back up again because I simply felt not emotionally prepared to finish it. Writing it felt like pouring my heart out and when I write 'pouring my heart out', what I mean is that it really feels like ripping your heart out. The filming was not any easier, but the hardest part was doing the voiceover. I probably recorded it fifty times, because my voice would crack and crack and crack and I was simply not willing to put those versions on the internet. I was not very strong or confident about being honest about my issue when I published the video, but publishing it made me those things.
I am not trying to tell you that making a YouTube video about your struggles will miraculously make them go away - but I am saying that it worked for me. And I am grateful to all of you for making it possible. I do not think that this video would have had the same effect on my healing process if it had been viewed by nobody. Thank you to the hundreds of people who watched the video with me during the premiere. Thank you to the tens of thousands who watched it after the premiere. And thank you for everyone who left a comment under the video. I am grateful for the good comments - the ones where people shared their stories and struggles and wished me well. But I am also grateful for the few mean comments - the ones where people told me that I just loved to be a victim and did not deserve to be at Cambridge. I have moderated these comments, but in order to do so, I had to read through them. I did not open the 'likely spam' section in my YouTube Creator Studio space for days after publicising the video because I preferred not to know how many negative comments would be left under this video. But when I opened it, I found less than ten. Some of them more hurtful than others. But I surprised myself by finding out that this did not bother me. I was able to shrug these comments off and that was when I realised that I had made a big step in my recovery.
I think the reason this video helped me so much is that it felt like finally sharing something I had hidden for a long time. I had already told my friends and family, but the video meant making it public. And for someone who built her channel on being a Cambridge vlogger, being honest about having left Cambridge is not that easy. I thought that I might lose subscribers because I had hidden my mental health issue from them for months. But that did not happen. Everybody heals differently, but I have learned that not having to do it alone can help alone. But in order to have people stand by you, you need to be honest about needing help.
Looking back, the only thing I wish I could have done differently with regards to my mental health issue is asking for help earlier.
If you would like to make the first step and talk to someone about your struggles, you can call the Samaritans under 116 123.
Lots of Love,