Creatives and Mental illness

By: C.M Edwards

The streaming community morns as they lose one of their own. Reported on July 2nd, Byron “Reckful” Bernstein passed away due to losing his fight with mental illness. Known majorly as a World of Warcraft streamer, Reckful (Bernstein) brought alleviation and agency to millions of people around the world as an entertainer, mentor, and as a friend to all of his fans. Barely out of his 30s, tragedy is Reckful’s life coming to an end so soon. While it was no secret that he suffered from immense depression during his career it is with deep sorrow that the world has lost yet another young, vibrant creative to suicide which warrants a shine of spotlight on the silent suffering of content creators. Reckful’s passing shocks the streaming world as well as crushes those who knew him best.

Reckful’s death disquietedly rides the heels of the anniversary of yet another Creatives death. Desmond “Etika” Amofah also lost his fight to mental illness on June 19th 2019 having left his last video as an apology and goodbye to his fans, friends, and family. Both Etika and Reckful were top performers in their field having millions of viewers/subscribers, a highly diverse community of fans and a charismatic albeit friendly persona that no doubt echoed into real life. Their passing shines a light on the number of content creators who put all of themselves in their videos or streams leaving very little left in the tank when the camera turns off. Lacking the adequate support systems needed to cope with the exhausting nature of content creation (such as inspiration dry spells, online harassment, and harsh community backlash from fellow creatives.) while battling mental illnesses such as crippling depression causes these people to lose the fight before they throw a punch.

Mental illnesses such as crippling depression or bipolar personality disorder take strong and consistent support systems to overcome. People who are dependable and share a strong connection with the sufferer are the main ingredient to maintain these systems. However, more often than not these systems fail due to inadequacy. This sickness is not something one can put a band-aid on nor is it something that can be fought part-time. It is a dreadful, painful, uphill fight against an army of negativity that will leave the sufferer and those around them overwhelmingly exhausted. Not many have what it takes to take on what could be a life long battle as we have come to learn after losing one after another of our fellow creatives. While there is no one to blame, we all share the responsibility when one of our own falls because they did not receive the help they needed and deserved.

Creatives are just as vulnerable to mental illness as anyone else however there is added pressure especially for those in the public eye such as YouTubers and streamers. Artists, Animators, Writers, Youtubers, Streamers, Podcasters, and actors suffer from extreme lows while their only ability to cope is through their audience; this is drastically unhealthy as a human being can not put on a performance 24/7. Videos can not last forever, and streams must come to an end, and when the curtains come down they are left feeling incredibly alone which in recent times is made worse by online harassment/trolling made popular by anonymous commenting and cancel culture.

Mental illness is an issue plaguing over 5% of Americans 18 and older, that’s 43.8 million human beings who suffer in silence. More than 5% suffer from more than one mental illness, while over 3 million people suffer from depression alone. Contrary to popular belief, depression is not an invisible killer. There are many faces it has, most you’ve have seen before. Robin Williams, Lee Thompson Young, Mac Miller are all public faces of the disease and how deadly it can be. It is the person smiling in your face, the sibling that hugs you extra tight, or the parent that asks you if you’re ok hoping you ask them the same. Depression even comes in the faces of those fighting it, Kain “Hotdamnirock” Carter, Daquan Wiltshire, Ethan “Behzinga” Payne, Natalia “Alinity” Mogollon are all currently fighting their own battles some better than others. The quiet pain of depression and mental illness must be highlighted in a way that educates not only the suffering but those close to them; The friends they call, the fans they entertain, and the strangers that pass them on the street because we are all in this together even when something is trying to tear us apart.

Both Reckful and Etika were barely into the age of thirty before their passing. Both were bright cheery individuals struggling to keep themselves together while fighting their own battles alone to what is the 10th leading cause of death in America. “The worse thing to call someone is crazy. It’s dismissive. I don’t understand this person, so they’re crazy. That’s bullshit, these people are not crazy. They are strong people. Maybe their environment is a little sick.” --Dave Chappelle.

If you or someone you know are suffering from depression or mental illness. Please reach out and get help. Do not suffer alone.


Twitter: @AtomoSK94
Facebook: Charles Michael Edwards
Creatives and Mental illness Creatives and Mental illness Reviewed by Blerds Online on Monday, July 06, 2020 Rating: 5

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