On Thursday, I am watching a video from Nate Black of Channel Maker and it’s on the topic of mental health and the job of creating contents for YouTube. For me, I’d have added blogging and creating audio podcasts. The issue of mental health is something I can readily identify with. How so?
A few years ago, I had suffered a burnout and it led to a need to walk away from my old blog site. As I listen to Nate’s story, I could hear echoes of my own challenges. Of course, the issue of mental health for bloggers, podcasters and YouTubers was not taken seriously in 2015. However, things have changed dramatically since that time.
As I already did a YouTube video, it seems a good idea to write something because people still read and it’s sometimes easier to discuss an issue by the power of the written words. Though I am not a mental health professional, I can share some of the lessons that I’ve learned and give you some ideas to help you in your struggles.
Let’s begin with an essential truth. It is a truth that applies to both believers and nonbelievers. You are not alone! Men and women were not designed to live in total isolation. We are social creatures. Though I am wired to be an introvert and I’ve no problem living in an empty house; I still have a need to reach out to other people. Here’s what God says in Genesis about the first man.
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”Genesis 2:18
Yes, Adam can always talk with God. Yet, Adam still needed another human being, Eve. Its why God made her out of Adam’s rib. She was created to be a help and companion to Adam. Simply put, we are not designed to do life in isolation. It’s why we need to get out and socialize.
In today’s techno-savvy world, it is easy to reach out and communicate with a wide array of people, across the globe. However, there is something missing and it is easily spotted by the older boomer generation. It is one thing to see someone at church, a store or on a social media platform.
However, it is not the same thing as having meaningful social interaction with that person. Yes, I am talking about the need for a real relationship. Yes, you can have a real relationship with someone through cyberspace. There is just one problem. They both require time, effort and trust. How does this relate to overcoming mental health issues?
For the average person, it seems that I have an easy job of writing blog posts or creating YouTube videos. If only it were true! I know an army of bloggers, YouTubers, and podcasters who would love to have a chat with such a person! It may be easy for the hobbyist; however, it is a different story for professional content creators. For this group, it is a job that requires time, sacrifice and commitment.
For me, I was already dealing with a major bout of insecurity and a sense of inferiority. I seriously had trouble believing my content would be taken seriously and I felt a need to keep pressing through my doubts and fears. I was ripe for the pressure to create readable content. I can still recall the days of second guessing myself.
YouTube and the blogosphere have something very much in common. It is this common denominator that lies at the heart of the pressure that all content creators face. We are told to write what we’re passionate about or create videos in a like manner. Sounds good. Right? There is just one problem with this philosophy.
You are likely reading this blog post because you are interested in the topic and I hope that my writing style kept you reading. The same thing applies to YouTube videos. We watch videos that meet a specific need. Though passion will provide the energy, we still need to create contents that you will consume. If we don’t then content creators can’t earn an income through programs like Google AdSense, affiliate programs and other sources.
My burnout was in 2017. The competition and pressure to create meaningful content has increased dramatically since that day. At that time, I did not fully understand what I was going through outside of my other issues. Thankfully, I had a church community and friends to reach out to.
Thankfully, I also got some help from the online YouTube gaming community. I had turned to certain YouTube gaming channels for comedic relief and not because I liked Minecraft. I simply needed a fun way to escape the stress of blogging and helping my mother who was suffering from a stroke and had a case of dementia.
Do you see why I started out with the initial statement, “You are NOT alone!”? Only one person can write an article for a blog and it can take hours of writing, research and editing. The same thing applies to YouTubers and podcasters.
Yet, you and I can’t sit chained to our desk. We still need to get out and socialize with family and friends. It is good to get out of the house and go for a walk or visit a friend. If for some reason you are not able to do this then you may want to invite them to visit you. If all else fail, there is an antiquated tool call the phone. You may want to try calling someone, sometimes!
I did just that when I felt overwhelmed in 2013 when the reality of what was happening to my mother sank in. I called a friend and she immediately called a mutual friend and told to get over here. I thank Jesus for the friends that I have. I could not have done it, if I was a true loner.
Here’s another tip that grew a smile on my face. I was reading an article on Carey Nieuwhof’s site. The article is called “An Antidote to Burnout: 5 Reasons You Haven’t Found a Sustainable Pace” Carey is correct. It seems this “pastor” is suggesting you give yourself permission to have some fun. Yes, it does help to have a fun hobby.
Ten years ago, I would disappear into Minecraft and just have fun playing it. It was my way of escaping the emotional rollercoaster. Today, I am increasingly wanting to dive into a book or listen to it on my Audible app. I would likely disagree with Carey about the YouTube video. I’d suggest watching a fun video that has nothing to do with work. Give your brain a rest!
Here’s a third tip and it ties in the above point, beautifully. Ever think of having fun reading the Scripture on a daily basis? A few years ago, I started a Bible reading plan called “Bible in One Year”. It’s a Bible reading plan created by Nicky Gumbel and his wife. Each morning, I would sit down and listen to a devotional teaching and the daily reading of Scripture.
It was a fun thing to do in the morning and it proved to be quite beneficial. You don’t have to do it, my way. You can choose to do the same thing with Daily Audio Bible. It’s the same principle. Of course, it helps to build a habit of prayer or talking to Jesus. Don’t be afraid to talk with the Holy Spirit about the stress you are experiencing as a content creator.
Don’t be afraid to share your doubts, fears and anxieties with God. God, the Father does care about you and he is able to help you. Here is what Peter says in 1 Peter 5:6-8
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.1 Peter 5:6-8
My goal in writing articles for this blog and creating videos is to help you with your own struggles. As such, you may thing that I’ve never dealt with depression and a strong fear of failure. You would be sadly mistaken! My depression was often fueled by my insecurity, fear of rejection and fear of failure. I really had a crappy view of myself.
How is this related? Christianity Explained is not my first blog site. I’ve actually quite a few sites, over the years. I started with a couple of different web sites. In time, I created my first blog site and it was called Beth Berakah. I, even went so far as to buy a domain name for it and Inspiration Point. Though I had failures, I had to learn the process of creating good content.
As for God, here’s what David says in Psalms 37:23-24
23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.Psalms 37:23-24 NASB
Jesus did not just begin a good work in me. Jesus has been faithfully helping me, all these years. Of course, I had many valuable lessons to learn and receive some very needed training. Failure is not the end of the world. With God’s help, you can move forward. At the same time, it does help to learn why something has failed.
You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know about it. The key is in your attitude towards failure and success. Do not be afraid to step out and take a risk. Do not be afraid to ask God for help and guidance. At the same time, it is okay to talk with people who are more knowledgeable than you.
So far, I have been talking about mental health and I’ve only hinted at spiritual health. It really does help to have trusted friends praying for you. They can also serve as a sounding board or a source of help. I’d give the same advice to a YouTuber who is in the gaming niche or in some other non-religious niche. It is okay if they don’t fully understand what you are doing, for a living.