How creating a Youtube channel helped my mental health struggles

This is a photo of me posing for an instagram brand deal. Photo Credits: My Instagram @hannahylandd/ self timer

Let’s just say, if you would have told me three years ago I would be where I am today I would have laughed in your face. Life is crazy and comes with many curveballs and changes that you are not always expecting. I believe these things that may seem bad at the time are truly what shape us into the people we are today. 

In my life, these major life changes came when I was moving into my freshman year of college. I have always looked forward to the change from high school and to officially be a college student. I was excited to be on my own, make new friends and gain life-changing experiences. I was ready for a fresh start. 

On August 17, 2018, I moved into my dorm room for my first year of college at a school two and a half hours away from home. 

As soon as I said my goodbyes to my family, I quickly felt a feeling that I have never experienced before. I was full of depressing emotions and feeling scared, mad, upset, confused and worried.  I didn’t know anyone. I was in a new state all alone. I felt trapped and didn’t know how to escape this feeling.

Within the first six days of living on campus I wanted to leave and go back to “my old life.” I wanted high school back and realized change was a lot harder for me than I originally thought. 

Seeing everyone around me on campus and friends from high school posting on social media looking like they were having the time of their lives made this even harder. I felt alone and that no one could understand how I was feeling. I just wanted to close my eyes and be back on my high school stage performing for the theater department and walking through the halls going class to class at a place I felt comfortable and “at home.” 

I knew that was an impossible wish but I also knew that where I was at was not where I was meant to be. It didn’t feel right and I had to make a decision for myself of how my future will go. This decision had to be made by me and only me because this is my life. 

A photo of me posing for an Instagram photo. Photo Credit: My Instagram @hannahylandd/self timer

After one week of living on campus, I decided to come home and commute to Cabrini University. This was a way to be able to live at home, be near those I love, but still get a college education. 

It took me several months after moving home to really be sure I made a good decision. I began seeing a therapist, who helped me realize that anxiety is a real thing and something that has been affecting me for much longer than I realized. Anxiety is not something that is easy to control and it has really affected a lot of my life.

While I was happy to be home, I now had to adapt to my new reality. All of my high school friends were away at school, so the feeling of loneliness began again. I felt like I had no one in my life, had no passion and did not know what to do.

This is when I found Youtube. It quickly became an escape from reality for me. When I felt alone, I would watch videos of creators who made me laugh and smile. These people, that I don’t personally know, became huge inspirations to me. 

The summer of 2019, I decided to create my own Youtube channel. I wanted to be someone who can be that inspiration for others. I want people to come to my channel when they are having a bad day and at least make them smile. 

I am able to use my platform to tell my personal story and struggles because I know so many more people than you think struggle with some form of mental illness. According to Sciencedaily.com, “studies found that people with severe mental illness used YouTube to feel less alone and to find hope, to support and to defend each other, and to share personal stories and strategies for coping with day-to-day challenges.”

A recent Youtube thumbnail for “Fall clothing haul” on my youtube channel. Photo Credits: Hanna Hyland/ Adobe photoshop

Creating a channel has been something I have thought about for several years but was always scared of being judged and feeling not good enough. 

Now, a year later after posting my first video my life has completely changed and I am so grateful for these hard life experiences that have brought me to this point. I have been able to grow my personal brand on both Instagram and Youtube and make a job out of it. 

Youtube quickly became the passion that I was seeking for but did not know I had. I now feel that I have a purpose

A recent instagram post for “World Mental Health Day.” Photo Credits: Hanna Hyland

and can use my creativity in a way I have never before. I have learned so much over the past year and cannot wait to see where this journey goes. 

It has made me more confident knowing that I can be good at something I love. My friend Mariell Conwell stated, “I can tell that Hanna’s self confidence and sense of self has grown significantly since she started YouTube.”

Of course, I still deal with mental health struggles every single day but I have finally found something to make me feel that being different is okay. I am not the typical college student going to class, living in a dorm room and going to college parties every weekend. I am a young 20 year old entrepreneur following her dreams and doing what I love.