The Truth About My Mental Health | Stef Sanjati [CC]

– Hello, little buns it is Stef, welcome back to my home. If you don’t know me, my
name is Stef Sanjati. I post videos every
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and if you would like to join me, I would love it if you could subscribe, and hit the bell thing
so that you’ll know when I upload because I’m saying that now, and I think it’s
responsible, and really smart so, thanks. This video is serious in subject matter, but I’m gonna do my best
to keep it lighthearted because ultimately, it’s a good thing. This is really important to
me so if you can do your best to sit through the whole video, I would love that because
this really is all about the future of us. If you’re a viewer of
mine for a long time, this is really about where I
wanna take you in the future. And I also want to dispel
a lot of the concerns and the speculation about my mental health that I’ve been seeing because a lot of it is very inaccurate, and I want
to paint you a full picture of where I’m at as a person. And I think, I think
I know how to do that. So I’d love for you to hear me out, let’s talk, let’s talk about this. There has been a lot of
speculation like I said, about my mental health because
I used to post videos that, and I’m quoting a comment,
paraphrasing kind of. I’m used to make videos
that were hard to watch and sad because I was in a sad place, and I was sharing that. And then I left for four weeks, and came back, and suddenly everything was happy and bright and cheery. And that made a lot of people worried because, and I understand
why, it looks like I went from miserable to happy overnight. And I know that that’s just
kind of the interpretation at face value, and I don’t blame anybody for interpreting it that way, but those four weeks in the
middle, so much happened. And I know people tend to,
it’s not that they consciously think this, it’s just an
understanding of their mind because they don’t see what goes on when I’m not on a video. But I understand that a lot of people almost see me like a TV character, they don’t mean to, but they do where my arch is written to be shown. So people expect to
know when I’m changing, they expect me to share it with them as if I’m writing it for them, but that’s not real life, and
that’s not how this works. And I know that nobody
consciously thinks that, but I think generally that’s how people tend to view creators. And I don’t blame anybody for that, but that’s not real. If I did not disappear for four weeks, if I did not pull back, and not show you what I was experiencing,
I could not have healed. Consider it the way you consider rehab. Except instead of going to rehab, I just removed myself from
all digital influence. I removed myself from Twitter,
I barely was on Instagram. I separated myself from everything so that I could really reflect in words, and look at my life,
and look at the choices that I’ve been making, and
look at where I wanted to go, and what future I wanted. And I could not have done that if I hadn’t removed myself from the internet. So I understand the sentiment of wanting to keep up with me, but if I hadn’t stopped letting you in, I could not have healed myself. And that’s not anybody’s fault, it’s just what I had to do. For the first time in literally years, I opened my mind to things. And it felt like before I knew it all, it was very easy to feel
like I was in control, and I knew everything, I knew
what the world issues were, I knew what the social issues were, I knew who was to blame,
and who had to be punished, and I knew all of this, but I was wrong because my entire world
view was tinted by pain, and rejection, and fear. And it’s not that I was wrong factually, I’m not saying I’m back
pedaling on all of my opinions ’cause that’s not happening. What I’m saying is the way
I wanted to heal the world was not affected for me to do in that way. What I was doing was not healthy for me, and it wasn’t helping anything. I thought I was being
smart and responsible, but I was being self destructive, and I was hurting people in my opinion, that’s what I was doing. In hindsight, it feels like,
and people aren’t conscious that this is hurting me, they don’t do it in a place of malice, they don’t do it because
they love to see me hurt. But it feels like all of my content, and what people wanted
and expected from me was for me to bleed for their amusement, or for their causes like a martyr. Like, it felt like I was martyring myself. Effectively, what I was
doing was harming myself because I felt I had
to, or it was my duty. I was torturing myself psychologically ’cause I thought that was being
responsible, and it wasn’t. Every part of me wants to
heal and soothe the world, or the people near me, or whatever it is. I want to fix things,
I want to calm things, I want to suit things. And the reason I took on
so much negative emotion, so much fear, pain, anxiety, and anger was because I thought if I took it, I could heal other people. But all I was doing was
replicating the behavior, I wasn’t taking any pain from people, I was just also being in pain,
it wasn’t helping anybody. It was not an effective
way for me to contribute to solving problems. One specific comment I
saw said I was behaving out of character, and
I want to unpack that. The reality is, and I do not mean this in a sassy, or in a snippy way, but you don’t know who I am. And I want you to, but the problem is that I have been becoming what
people wanted me to become. I was shaping myself based
on feedback from viewers, and that is so damaging because I didn’t
understand I was doing it. I thought I was just becoming a person that people liked, but
I was becoming a person that hated themselves, and
that is so bad. (laughs) I don’t have to tell you that’s bad. I became the person I thought you needed, and I was in pain, and I was angry, and I was lonely, but those
are not personality traits. That’s not who I am, that’s not who I was. So I want to tell you who I am. And while I’m telling you who I am, I want you to think about who you are at your core ’cause I know a lot of you, a lot of my regular viewers
I think were in a place just like I was a month
or two, or you know, for the past year and a half. I think a lot of you are in that place, and I didn’t know I was in that place. So I just want you to listen,
and think about yourself. And I want you to think about
who you are at your core, what are your core personality traits? Not emotions, but your values,
and what makes you happy, and what you want to share
with people, alright? I’m gonna tell you mine, and I want you to think about yours, and then I want you to leave a comment, or even
just write it down for yourself. I want you to write I
down though if you can, who are you? Really think about it. I am loud, I am half deaf,
literally deaf in one ear so I don’t really know how
loud I’m being sometimes. Sometimes I’m, I think I’m whispering, but I’m speaking at a volume
where people can hear me in another room, it’s just the way I am. And I don’t dislike it, I
think it’s kind of endearing. I’m loud, I’m sarcastic, and sometimes it’s to my
detriment because I tend to take problems that are thrown at me and warp them into a
joke to lighten the blow. That’s how I heal it, right? When I’m encountering pain, I like to change it into something funny. And that’s a defense
mechanism, and sometimes it pisses people off. I’m distracted, I become very distracted. I like shiny things, and
I like not shiny objects, not materialistic, but
like exciting things and experiences, I become
very like, focused on one, and then another, and
then another very quickly. Also, I’ve just realized
there’s a giant smudge on my lens, but you know
what, it adds character, you’re here to deal with that, distracted. I’m very clumsy, I knock
things over constantly. I attribute this to my hearing, and how it affects my balance. I knock things over everyday,
I break things everyday. I’m just kind of, I used to say, I want you to think about this, I used to say I was destructive,
now I say I’m clumsy. And those have very
different connotations. And when, like you don’t
really think about it when you’re saying it,
but every time I called myself destructive, I was
reinforcing a negative belief about myself, and I
think we do that so much with so many things. So no, I’m not destructive, I’m clumsy. I really value movement,
and adventure, and memories. I want to be wealthy in memories. For a very long time, I filled a void of materialistic things. So much clothing, so many
pretty things in my home, I made everything pretty, I just loved it. But I felt horrible, I felt so ugly. I honestly felt ugly. Not anymore, and I’ll
get on that later maybe, but my life was just dark, and now I know what I value, I know
what brings me happiness, and it’s not things, it’s experiences, it’s memories, it’s adventure, and it’s movement, it’s
engaging with my life. And that brings me so much joy. But I think my three core, core traits are before I say this, I
guess some people might interpret this as narcissistic that I’m saying I’m these positive things. But I think we should do that more often. I think people should stop
being ashamed of being happy with themselves,
or proud of themselves, or genuinely enjoying
who they are as people. I think we should enjoy
who we are as people, and if we don’t, there’s something wrong. There’s something hurting us, there’s something weighing us down. So I don’t want you to
view it in that lens, I want you to view it as a
factual report of who you are. Not a tinted report. This is core traits, not emotion. So I think my core traits,
and I completely ignored them for so long, I thought they were weak, I thought they were liabilities. And I rejected the most
natural things about me which were how nurturing I am,
how much I care about people, I want to care for them like a parent, but not really parental. And my affectionate nature, I’m very, I’m like a cat that wants
to rub itself on you, you know what I mean? That makes me so happy, but for a long time I was like, “No, you have to be independent, “and you have to be cold and reject.” But really, I was just
replicating the behavior that was put on me by other people. Other people were cold, rejecting, unkind, and cynical to me, so
I became those things. That’s not who I am at all. Nothing makes me warmer
inside, and happier than taking care of somebody,
cooking for somebody, cleaning for somebody,
making them feel good. That makes me so happy, and I might not take the best care of myself,
but I know I take really good care of other people. And as far as affection goes, it doesn’t have to be
even sexual or romantic, but just being close to
people that I care about, my love language is physical. I like showing people through my hands, or doing things for them
that I care for them, that is how I communicate. And to stifle that and suffocate it because I thought I
don’t know, it was weak was very damaging ’cause that really is a core part of me. I am not changing. A lot of people think
oh, this is a new Stef, this is a different
Stef, no, absolutely not. I have always been this person, and if you look back
at my earliest videos, especially the ones where
I had purplish hair, I think I exemplify these traits even if they were hidden underneath of a bit of psychical discomfort. I wasn’t very happy
with myself physically, but I was hopeful, and I
was all of these things. And somewhere along the line, I replaced all of these traits with dark negative things because I took them on as a way to heal other people, but I didn’t help anybody,
especially other people, and especially not myself. I thought I was the only one that could take those things on, and here’s the thing,
that is absolutely false. If I don’t do it, other people wilL. Other people have been,
they’re not gonna suddenly stop just because I stop. The hardest thing for
me to come to terms with was the fact that I am not an activist because I had a misunderstanding of what being an activist was
because it was given to me. The title was thrown at
me, it was given to me. Because I’m a marginalized person that talked about their experiences. I was given the title,
and the role of activist, but I never asked for it, and
it never was natural to me, that’s not healthy for me, that lifestyle doesn’t work for me. But I did it because I
thought it was my duty, and it isn’t. Being a marginalized person does not immediately make you an activist. And just because you
share your experience, does not mean you have
to take on the fight at the front line. That’s not for everybody, not everybody’s capable of that. And I will do what is natural to me to make change in the world. But I will not do what
harms me psychologically on a deep level to solve problems. I will do it in a way
that makes sense to me, that is natural to me, and therefore way more effective. The way I see the future is so bright and I know how to fix things. I know how to heal things, I know how to make people feel better, and it’s not the way I
was doing things before. I was diagnosed with post
traumatic stress disorder as a result of the things I
went through in my hometown. And I will actually link a video, and a card, and in the description box to where I talk about
that experience in detail. It’s like a 30 minute
video, it’s very full, and very informative, and that informed everything about me. And what I realized that
was really hard to swallow was that by being an
activist, or doing my best to be aware of absolutely
every horrific problem at once. I thought I had to have
all of it on my plate, and I had to know everything
that was happening ’cause it felt like it was
the responsible thing to do to know every bad thing that was happening so I could fix it. All I was doing was triggering
myself into PTSD symptoms constantly for years. I did that to myself for years, I was harming myself psychologically. And I don’t want you to, like, take this with a grain of salt because this analogy is not a one to one, but soldiers that come
back from war with PTSD do not sit there and
watch all the coverage on all the wars that they were fighting. They don’t sit there, and
look at war movies constantly, they don’t remind themselves
of the darkest things that happened to them
because it’s destructive, and it puts them in a place
where they’re a danger to themselves, why was
I doing that to myself with things that were triggering
my PTSD symptoms, why? It was horrible. I was the worst thing I ever did, and I did it for so long. This was the core of
every problem in my life was that I was re-wounding myself, I was keeping the wound
open, it never healed. I was ripping it open everyday, that was destructive. So I cannot provide that role anymore, but I know what I can provide, and others will provide what
I provided for you before. And some of you came to me for positivity and I think overtime
you’ve changed with me, you’ve become darker with me. And I don’t want to be responsible for other people entering darker places, I want to be responsible
for hope and laughter, I want that to be my message. Not fear, not loneliness,
not sadness, not rejection. I want to live how most
people get to, for happiness. And that does not mean
living in luxury on yachts with fancy things because quite frankly, I am making less now
than I have in four years since I started full time on YouTube, less than I ever have, and I’m in debt. (chuckles) And I’m okay with it because I’m so happy,
and I know how to fix it, and I have a vision for how to fix it, it doesn’t stress me out because I know it’s going to be okay because for the first time in years my mind is peaceful, it’s quiet in there, it’s zen, it’s relaxed. My brain is not on fire anymore, I feel like what I was doing before was I was in this fight
with this grizzly bear everyday for years. That I had to just keep
fighting the grizzly bear, and it never relented. And then one day the grizzly bear got me, it pushed me into the mud,
and I was laying in the mud, and I was wounded, and I was dying. And then the grizzly bear left, and there was nobody around, and suddenly I realized
that wasn’t my grizzly bear. And what I’ve been doing was after I beat my grizzly bear, I kept on finding grizzly bears. I sought them out, and I punched them, and they would attack me because I’m punching a grizzly bear. I’m poking a bear, but
instead of it being a bear, I’m poking at my PTSD everyday. I’m just like ooh, you gotta stay active, you gotta stay awake. So when I was laying in the mud, and there was no grizzly bear around, that was when I was at a low point, and I decided to distance myself. I didn’t even decide it consciously, I just stopped doing things,
I stopped going online. And suddenly, I was okay. I got to sit there and think,
what is my life right now? What are my choices ahead? What future do I wanna live? I imagined what future I wanted to live, and I said, “Okay, I can do that.” and for the first time in a long time I could see a future. Because when I was in that fog, it was like there was no
future, it just stopped. I wasn’t even thinking about the present, I was just stuck in the past constantly, I was stuck in that
fear, and that rejection, and that loneliness, I
was not moving forward, I was staying still for years. Even if my numbers were growing, as a person, I was preventing
myself from growing in every single way. I will continue to
dismantle oppressive systems when I encounter them, when it’s something that I can do, but I will not throw myself at grizzly bears just to be a martyr. Because that’s not good for anybody, and I’m no good to anybody dead. I wanna read you a little story I wrote, (laughs) because really,
this entire conversation comes from an essay that I wrote to myself when I was reflecting,
when I was in that place. And I wanna read you a
part that I wrote about, I don’t know how to describe
it, I just have to read it. “Let me paint you a picture. “After that grizzly bear
left, and I laid in the mud “having my revelations
about what I’ve been doing, “I peel myself off the mud
and walk out of the woods “into a beautiful valley
of waterfalls and flowers “where the breeze tastes like
the concept of sweetness. “I stop there, and I stay there. “I sleep in the soft bed of grass, “and smell the beauty around
me for as long as I need to “to calm my mind. “I let the nature heal
me, I listen to myself, “and my thoughts, and my
worries, and concerns, “and I soothe them. “The people that pass
through the valley of flowers “teach me things, and I teach them things, “and we both part feeling
more full in our hearts. “And after four weeks of absolute peace, “I’m ready to leave that valley again. “I walk into a town, no specific town, “let’s just pretend the
internet is a town, okay? “I see an old friend, and I approach them s”howing them the beautiful
bouquet of flowers “I picked from the valley. “Showing them how beautiful I feel “with my movement, and my action, “and that old friend
looks at me in horror. “Completely ignores the flowers
that I brought for them, “and they tell me I’m a danger to myself “because I’m too
animated, I’m too excited, “I’m too good, and I’m
not what they remember.” How would that make you feel? (laughs) You know, if you leave
and you go to a place that just heals you
fully, and you feel like I can go forward now, I can have a future. And then you go back
to where you came from, and some people are happy for you. But it’s hard to not get caught up on the negative reactions because you really want them to understand that I’m better now, I’m good. Look how good I am, look how happy, look how capable I am. And all they can see is who you were before,
and they want it back. And you know that was the
worst place you’ve ever been, and that’s why I’ve
been kind of frustrated with commenters that speculate
that I’m unstable right now. Numerically, it’s not
overwhelmingly that reaction, but I see it and I internalize it because again, I want to heal them. I want to help them
understand that I’m good now, you can also feel this way, I want them to feel this way. And I think that is what I’m capable of doing in the future. I want people to feel this, and I think I can help them do that. Just like I could make them feel fear, and sadness, and dread before. Now I can make them feel
hopeful, and beautiful, and good. I’m gonna wrap up this reading thing. “To translate the analogy, “starting with laying in
the mud, I wanted to die. “I was alone and lost, and
I realized I was doing it “to myself out of a sense of
duty that I never asked for, “or volunteered for. “I stopped, took a step back,
allowed myself to rediscover “who I really was, and
shed all of the weight “I was carrying, and I
was excited to come back “with lighthearted videos, and I still am. “And while the response
has been largely positive, “and excited, there is a
vocal and condescending “narrative being spread about
my mental health instability “when for the first time in years, “my mind is crystal clear.” So, that’s how I feel. All I’m asking for is
the benefit of the doubt, and the trust that I know in my mind, and I know what I’m feeling,
and I know my history, and I know who I am, and I know what’s happening, and I just want you to believe that, and treat me with that respect. This is me embracing myself,
and what makes me happy, and chasing that. It is so important for marginalized people to see that they can live a healthy, functional, happy life, and that is what I can
provide from now on. That is what I want to
provide from now on. I wanna be that example of a happy person because what I was being
before as an example was not helpful, or healthy, or good. I am the strongest, and the happiest, and the healthiest that
I’ve been in years. And I know now that I want to spread hope and laughter, right? Not fear, and loneliness, and pain. And I will still talk about being trans when it’s relevant, or when it comes up, or when I want to. But I will not rip open
my wound every single day because people want me to. I won’t do that, I can’t, I can’t, it was killing me. I love you sincerely, and this is why what I was doing before was so hurtful because it
was dangerously sincere. But I’m still very sincere about what I’m bringing to the table now, and I’m more excited about it than ever. I do wanna talk about
the future of my content, and I think there’s been a
bit of a misunderstanding about what adivis, and
a lot of you probably don’t know what the adivis is at all, but there is a Patreon
link in the description box that you can check out
if you’re interested. Basically what it means
is I’m gonna be posting three videos a week, and
I’m gonna be traveling all over the world, experiencing things, and sharing that with you. And I will still talk about
all of the same issues, I’m just gonna do it in a way that’s constructive and healthy for me. So you can still learn
about all these problems, and you can still learn about who you are, and like, develop your
character as I develop mine, and all of that is still going to happen, it’s just gonna be a much better way, and a much better quality of everything. Everything moving forward
will be better coming from me. I do value, and love, and cherish, and need your support. But if you don’t wanna support me anymore, then that’s okay, that’s
alright, I release you. Like, you can unsubscribe, it’s okay. But I really hope you stick around, and you reflect on what
I’m bring to use from now. ‘Cause I think it would be
really good for everybody to see past the surface of what I’m doing, and to internalize what
I’m trying to show you as an example. So I will see you in that content in the future, and I will post a video very soon defining what the adivis is, and what I’m doing. But what you really need to understand is I’m doing travel content, but I’m making it personal, about us, about emotion, about
growth, about learning. It’s not about going to cool places, and taking cool videos. It’s about people, and about
how beautiful they are, and about how happy we can be. This has been a long one, thank you so much for
watching this entire video if you did, please let me know if you did, because props, like kudos,
you know what I mean? If this resonated with you on any level, I encourage you to
share it because I think what I’ve been saying
can be helpful to people of all backgrounds, not
just YouTubers or viewers. I think people need to hear sometimes the behaviors
you think are responsible, are destructive for
yourself, they’re self harm. And I really want people to reflect on what they’re inviting into
their life on every level. I will see you again soon, I love you, and I’m so excited for our future, okay? And I will see you there, bye. (kisses)

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