YouTuber Charlie McDonnell Opens Up About Depression and Anxiety
Despite all the information out there, many people still have trouble seeing anxiety and depression as legitimate mental health issues. Case in point: when YouTuber Charlie McDonnell started looking for help for these issues, his own doctor didn’t really believe him.
“It has only been recently that I have been formally diagnosed with these,” he says in his latest video. “To be honest, the first time I went to see a doctor about it I kind of got brushed off. He was like, ‘This probably isn’t a big deal. Maybe go see a therapist if you can.’”
So it’s hardly surprising that being open with his fans on YouTube and social media about these issues was a bit nerve-wracking at first.
Following up on his recent tweets, McDonnell explained that it took him a while to admit to himself that something was wrong. “I honestly just thought I was being a bit whiny. I thought, ‘It’s not that I’m depressed, I’m just lazy. It’s not that I’m anxious, I’m just a bit scared … I need to man up and deal with it.”
Being online compounded that problem — he says his anxiety really began to assert itself around the time he got involved in YouTube — because there’s a certain culture of being constantly upbeat and entertaining for your viewers.
“There is a certain amount of bumming out you’re allowed to do on YouTube, it feels like. It’s okay to have problems in videos, so long as you can find a way to say at the end that you’re getting through. You’ve got to find the upside.”
There’s also a tendency among some online communities to criticize the use of antidepressants, which prompted McDonnell to explain that it’s not always enough for people to take a walk outside to make themselves feel better.
“The one thing that medication really did help me realize was that it was an illness. It was a very physical way of being like, ‘You are taking a pill for an issue that you have, so it’s not a part of you.’ And separating those two things, me from the illness, was very important for me personally.”