I’ve noticed this past year that I have become emotionally invested in the well being of perfect strangers. As someone who lives with a mental illness, more specifically schizoaffective disorder, I seek out others online with it as I don’t know anyone in real life who has an illness as serious as mine. One way I do this is by watching youtube videos.
It started out as curosity, “I wonder what would happen if I type in schizoaffective disorder.” I don’t think I expected complete strangers to record videos about their day to day struggles. When I first discovered these vlogs I spent hours watching them. I found I could really relate to their struggles and didn’t feel as alone as I did before watching.
Then one day, one of my vloggers disappeared. Their channel just ceased to exist and I became really worried. “Are they ok?” I thought. “Did they lose the battle?” That was the moment I realized part of me cares about these strangers.
I was completely oblivious to my emotional investment until some of them disappeared. After that I became conscious of it. I started to notice the anxiety I feel when one of my vloggers are struggling. The want to reach out and say “you can beat this.” Or “please don’t go off your meds!.” Or a thousand other things I don’t allow my fingers to type.
These strangers have made an impact on me. I miss these people and I desperately want them to be ok. I want them to live a well rounded life because I still haven’t discovered how to do it while managing this illness and if they can, maybe I can.
So if you are reading this and are struggling just know that someone out there is rooting for you. Someone who might not even know you wants the best for you even if you feel alone. If you are fighting the good fight I applaud you because this isn’t easy.