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Loss, Therapy, and Finding Myself through Streaming

Content: Warwick Zero shared their experiences in grief, loss, therapy and using streaming to explore their identity.

My personal mental health journey has been a fairly recent one (the last 3 years or so), but more so because I felt I wasn’t able to really be honest to myself about mental health and the stigmas that came with it. It was only when I hit my lowest that I started to think about my own mental health.

I think growing up, there was this pressure to ‘man up’, to not show emotions. It was instilled in me at a young age with society thinking if a man showed emotions, then it was weakness. And that stuck with me for a lot of my life. I would pretend to myself that I was doing ok. I would always brush off people’s concerns by saying ‘don’t worry about me, other people have it worse’ and all these mindsets finally came to a head when in 2020 I lost my dad.

I remember that phone call from my mum as clear as day. I was at my local pub playing in a D&D campaign when I got the call and my world stopped. At that moment, nothing else mattered. Everything fell to the wayside as I dealt with this tragedy and it was at this moment that I realized I really wasn’t ok, and wasn’t able to lie to myself anymore.

I was finally saying to myself ‘I’m not ok’.

This was the turning point in my life for me as I started to understand the emotional and mental harm I had been doing to myself for years. It took me getting to my lowest ever moment to finally realise that.

During the following months, I started going to therapy and understanding myself more. It was very eye opening realizing how much harm I was doing myself and how much I have been struggling. The biggest thing was learning that I was lying to myself about how I was. The words I told myself was causing so much damage that I couldn’t see it until it was shown in front of me. I was learning about myself and realising it was ok to not be ok

I was involved in therapy for a few months and starting to feel better; understanding myself more and feeling more comfortable with sharing my feelings etc, and so I wanted to start to connect with others to show that being ‘ok about being not ok’. However it was during the pandemic; a time where we were feeling more alone as ever. And so, I found streaming.

I started streaming October 2020 as a way to connect with people due to the pandemic and to feel less alone. It started just as me playing some games I enjoyed and telling my story for whoever wanted to listen. I didn’t expect much so I was surprised that I started to grow a community. For the first time in a very long time, I feel valid. For years I was told that I shouldn’t show my feelings and be honest to myself as others will judge me. But here I was with a sizable community who made me feel valid for me, and in turn showing others that they were valid!

And not only that, but I also started to truly learn about myself and how I identify.

With streaming, I was able to learn about my community and my eyes were opened up to just how much was out there in terms of self identity and expression. Suddenly I was introduced to a world bigger than what I knew, and suddenly things started to make sense.

I always felt like something didn’t ‘fit’, and I never knew what that was until I came out as non-binary.

Things made more sense as I never really identified as either male or female, but never knew there was an option for me to be neither. Finally I was truly myself, something I’ve never experienced before and with it coming to a year since coming out as non-binary, I can safely say my streaming journey has been a pretty good one.

Written by WarwickZero