First off, I apologise for how confusing this post might get in parts. I wanted to write this for a while, but there’s more than one part to it, so I promise I’ll try and be as structured with it as possible! I will however start with the main focus… Dodie Clark. If you don’t already know, Dodie Clark is a musician/vlogger/YouTuber/all-round-cool-person. Much of what I spend my personal life doing with my friends and on my blog/column is raving about certain people. The reason why, I explained to my friend just the other day, is because I always feel if I enjoy something, I should vocalise that. Imagine a creative industry where people publish their work without any feedback, positive or negative. Celebrities, mainstream or otherwise are still human, feedback helps them (albeit constructive feedback). One of the most human of YouTubers I’ve noticed is Dodie. Let me explain…
I can’t quite remember when I first started watching Dodie, all I know is that it was quite some time ago now. Either way one of the most striking things I noticed was how open she was about her issues with anxiety and depression. Mental Health has always been a bit of a taboo, and something that constantly faces misinterpretation. Having suffered it myself for almost 8 years now, it’s hard enough to tell a friend in person, let alone an internet community. It’s brave and it was a helpful thing to encounter for me. Someone that was just honest. YouTube, as much as I love it and what aspects of it has done for people, especially of my generation, can be vicious. Vloggers and creators often seem to feel like they have an obligation to be happy, to keep up a face. To some extent it may help, it forces you slightly to brighten up, but taking it too far will just bury feelings, not lose them. In a YouTube that can be false, Dodie is easily one of the most candid of it’s creators.
Yesterday (15th July) Dodie tweeted that she was having a bad time with mental health and wanted to check out of the online world for a few days. Sad, but completely understandable. Yet with this, I thought it was time for this blog post to come out. In the wake of someone like Dodie, as honest as she is being, telling her community she needs a time out. From what I’ve seen mental health awareness is getting better and the reception of it is so much better than it used to be. That doesn’t mean there’s not more to go though. No doubt someone will have a problem, someone will believe that no matter what, she should just continue. This post is for those people…but also for Dodie, if she ends up reading it. Depression and Anxiety is as much a physical illness as a broken leg, or a fractured skull. They have different symptons, but they are just as likely to affect ones personal, physical and emotional state. Almost every time I fall into a state of Depression/Anxiety it ends up affecting my physical state, I’m lethargic, I get aches, and pains as if someone is repeatedly stabbing me. To anyone suffering – don’t get angry at yourself if you can’t do things during your state. To anyone naive about the severity of mental health – open your eyes, and don’t make assumptions about something you may have no understanding of.
At the same time, and this is where the post will again change, a persons mental state does not define them. As much as it is a part of me, I will not label myself as Liam Xavier – Depression Sufferer. It’s not my title, it’s not the only thing that should be associated with me. But I accept it, and I allow myself days off, I allow myself to take time from writing, and looking for acting jobs to be careful of my health. It’s so so important. Dodie, similarly is not Dodie Clark – Depression Sufferer. She is just Dodie, she’s an actress, musician, vlogger and whatever else she wants to be. She’s Doddleoddle and Doddlevloggle and she just so happens to have Depression/Anxiety. One of my favourite of her videos shows everything I want to talk about now:
I mean, when this came out, I just thought it was the best thing. It’s such a creative video. It’s more than just a vlog, more than just a song, and more than just an introduction to her face. It’s a way of expressing her own issues with her appearance, and showing herself the good parts and just loving it. Not only does this do well for herself, it’s a great example of how people, especially younger people should approach their appearance. To let them know its understandable to have self-conscious problems, but to in the end just love them because they’re part of yourself.
Dodie is one of my favourite online creators and one of my favourite people in general. I’ve said so many times now that YouTube is a chance for introverts and shyer types of people to have friends when they feel they have none. I haven’t met her myself, but she is one of the few people that is able to both show us enough to feel we’re not being lied to, but also keep enough for herself.
Dodie is a wonderful YouTuber and more people should know about her. Her songs are some of the most lyrically creative and immersive I’ve heard, and the melodies that go with them are beautiful. She is open and candid about so many different subjects including mental illness, ads and promotional videos. Any ads that she does do are those she believes in, and the way she does them are just so incredibly creative. Basically as a mental health sufferer, as a fellow 21 year old, and as a fellow creative, I look up to Dodie. I hope she realises everything she has done at such a young age, and how the industry needs her creativity. YouTube needs her honesty, and I hope her community appreciates when she needs time away and supports her.