An 18-year-old YouTuber who's been vlogging since she was 13 recently shared a video of herself breaking down in tears talking about the pressures of being likable online.
Hannah Meloche, who has more than 3 million subscribers collectively on her two channels, told BuzzFeed News her emotions caught her by surprise while she was filming.
"I broke down on camera which was not the plan," she said. "But I decided to upload it because that is the real me."
In the video titled "i don't know anymore." that's now reaching a million views, Meloche said she was attempting to record a "normal" video when she began making disclaimers about what she was saying. She realized having to explain or give disclaimers for so many things during her vlogs has led to her feeling intense anxiety while filming vlogs or posting online.
"I feel like I'm disclaiming everything," she said in the video. "I feel like I can't make the videos I want to make because people don't like me, and people don't want to watch my videos."
Tears then begin to well up in her eyes.
"I just feel stupid," she said in between sobs. "I just don't want to care...but I care so much...and I'm not doing this for pity. I just want to be honest with you guys."
The video she uploaded is raw and rambling. Meloche said she intended it to be that way, with light editing, to show her millions of young viewers that there are "downsides" to what she does for a living.
Now, two weeks later, she's had some time to reflect on all that had been building up to that moment.
"Being an influencer as people like to call us…it's all up to us how people see us. We can put out content that best portrays us in real life and put it out online for people to enjoy," she said.
"The downside of all of this is the pressure: the pressure to not mess up or say anything that’s going to offend anyone," she went on. "Or the pressure to stay happy and stay posting content and even staying relevant."
In August, tea channels on YouTube declared Meloche and another YouTuber named Summer Mckeen canceled after privately recorded videos showed the two mocking a fan. Meloche issued an apology video, in which she said her actions were "mean."
Since then, however, the "hate" and denigrating comments have not ceased. Meloche said they have taken a real toll on her life.
"People just want [to] hate on you for being nothing but yourself and trying your best to live life," she said. "It gets overwhelming and I think people forget that YouTubers are real people too."
Her fans and subscribers are now urging her to take a break and remember that there exists a life outside of YouTube.
"Go get a therapist, apply for college, travel, there’s more to life than youtube and social media," a commenter wrote on her teary vlog.
Meloche said she's grateful for her fans' concerns, and more importantly, she's internalizing them. The YouTuber is going to therapy, and she plans to spend a little less time on her phone and other social media–enabling devices.
"I do need advice from someone from the outside," she added.
Meloche added that since she went live with her vlog, she's heard from her other YouTuber friends "that it is exactly how they've been feeling."
Still, she said she remains "hopeful for a more positive online community" in the future.