A YouTuber showed the devastating mental health impact of constant online hate with a raw video documenting her anxiety and panic attacks
- Imogen Horton, known as Imogenation on YouTube, showed her followers the devastating impact of online hate and trolling.
- She posted a candid video full of raw footage of her struggles behind the camera.
- The footage showed how she could barely get out her greeting to start videos, and documented panic attacks where it felt like the walls were closing in on her.
- Horton told Insider she felt like she'd lost herself and was obsessed with finding and deleting hate comments.
- She said she wishes people were kinder to one another, especially now when "we need each other more than ever."
- Warning: Some readers may find the footage distressing.
Imogen Horton, better known as Imogenation on YouTube where she has 386,000 subscribers, gave her followers a look behind the scenes at why she hasn't been uploading lately.In a video called "The effect of hate," Horton posted 30 minutes of raw footage she hadn't used. She showed how she'd been struggling to even get out the greeting at the start of her vlogs, and how attempting to film was triggering panic attacks where she could barely breathe and felt like the walls were closing in.
YouTube changed from being her passion to a complete nightmareShe said YouTube went from being something she loved to something that was completely overwhelming.
"I was just looking at the viewfinder and picking out a hundred different insecurities, I was second guessing everything about myself, and I felt like I'd lost myself," she said. "I'd sit down to film and automatically these horrible thoughts would come into my head."In the video, Horton tries to start a "get ready with me" vlog, but is clearly incredibly insecure and stops recording when she can't find the right color foundation. In another clip, she can't get further than saying "hi" before fiddling with her hair or worrying about her voice.
You never know the inner demons people are battling everyday. Mental health is invisible to most people. The first photo is me during a much happier time in my life and the second photo was taken 1 minute ago. I could pick out a million different insecurities on both photos but I’m trying to get back to a better state of mind. At the moment I feel trapped in my own head with dark thoughts, I feel like it’s suffocating. It’s a long and slow process but I know that time is a healer and I hope I can overcome this hurdle. Please don’t ever think you’re alone if you are struggling, you are not. You are loved, you are worthy and you can do this. I’m saying this to you and I’m trying to say this to myself too. Isn’t it crazy that we can give out advice so easily but taking it seems so much harder? Last night I had a really low moment, probably the lowest I’ve ever had in 27 years and even though I’m taking more time off social media, I went for some fresh air with Spencer and we went through so many amazing messages you’ve sent me and I can’t explain how much it helped me to know how much support I have. For everyone out there who feels like you don’t have support, please reach out. You have no idea how much the people you don’t even know can help you ❤️ You angels are keeping me fighting everyday, without you and my support system I would have given up a long time ago! #mentalhealthawarenessweek
A post shared by IMOGEN HORTON (@imogenation_) on May 18, 2020 at 9:59am PDT
Horton told Insider she's always been an anxious person, but had worked hard to control it throughout her 20s. The constant mean comments she receives meant some of that control started to fade away."There are only so many times you can keep getting put down until you start to believe it," she said. "I guess I reached my breaking point and the panic attacks seemed to come thick and fast — when one finished I had a couple of minutes until another one would begin at one point."She lost sleep because she constantly worried about what would happen and what people would be saying about her during the night.
"I felt suffocated," she said.
'It was almost like self-harm'
Horton included some commentary in her video, where she explained how she'd become so obsessed with finding and deleting hate comments that it was consuming her life. She said her husband was considering taking away her phone so she couldn't spend so much time looking at the negativity."I hated the thought anyone that watched my channel who actually liked me would see all these horrendous lies being told about me," she said. "I would actively look for hate comments over nice comments because it was almost like self-harm, torturing myself to go back and hurt myself because I felt like that is what I deserved."
She could feel the anxiety and panic grow inside her, but she couldn't stop.
"I just felt so lost and heartbroken that anyone could try to hurt me like that," she said. "I felt like they were taking every single good thing from me away, anything I used to like about myself was being destroyed in front of my eyes."
Horton said she wanted to show the reality of what she was dealing with, and how nobody lives a perfect "Instagram life." She thinks mental health needs to be taken more seriously, and those in the public eye should be judged less harshly.
The effect of hate. New video is linked in my bio & instastory. (This is the rawest, most honest video I’ve ever posted. Over the last week I’ve filmed the lowest points I’ve had, my anxiety, panic attacks and the state of my mental health. Words have an impact, words can destroy a person). Thank you for being so kind and amazing to me when I feel like I don’t deserve it, I love you so much.
A post shared by IMOGEN HORTON (@imogenation_) on May 16, 2020 at 9:00am PDT
Everyone goes through dark times
At her lowest point, Horton said she felt so incredibly alone. She said if she can help just one person feel like they are not alone, she'll be content."I'm not perfect, I've made mistakes and that is all part of being human," she said. "Everyone makes mistakes but I know along the way I've needed guidance and someone to reach out and help me find my path. I wanted to be that person for some people."
Being in a dark place doesn't have to lead to lashing out, she said, because tearing someone else down with trolling and hate comments will never make you happy in the long run."Surely nobody who has ever sent me hate could watch that video back and feel proud of how they've made me feel," she said. "Even watching the video back myself I found it uncomfortable to watch because it was very raw and painful, and that is what I wanted people to see to hopefully show the direct effects that words have on someone."
She said people don't often realize the true impact of their words on someone, particularly someone who is already battling their own mental health struggles.
A post shared by IMOGEN HORTON (@imogenation_) on May 9, 2020 at 9:00am PDT
"I am a smaller YouTuber than many, I'm very small in the grand scheme of things, so I can really see how someone in the public eye who has it on a much larger scale could be tipped over the edge," she said. "I wish the world was kinder to each other because, especially in today's climate, we need each other more than ever."
Horton is now seeing a therapist and life coach to help her get back on track, to talk more about how she's feeling instead of pushing them down until she reaches a breaking point. She said she knows it will be a long, slow process, but hopefully her journey will inspire others to reach out for help too."Improving my mental health is definitely at the top of my priority list now," she said. "I am actually grateful that all this has happened because it has made me put myself first, and hopefully I can come out of this stronger, happier, healthier, and the best version of myself."
Watch Horton's full video below.
Warning: Some readers may find the footage distressing.Read more:
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