If there were a poster child for the power of social media to make career dreams come true, it would be Lindsey Stirling. Her one-of-a-kind dancing-while-playing-violin performances were offbeat for the music industry. In fact, Pier Morgan famously said in 2010, the world did not need an electronic violinist when Lindsey Stirling competed on “America’s Got Talent”. Today, 7.8 million subscribers, more than a billion video views, two albums, and a world tour later, the Brigham Young grad whose parents couldn’t afford dance lessons is officially YouTube’s highest-earning woman!!!
What more could one ask for? One might ask. Recently, the 29-year old American violinist revealed in an op-ed with Mogul’s#IAmAMogul campaign that her road to success was not without obstacles. While in college, she dealth with mental health issues including depression and anorexia. She says
“The people who follow me on my social media often post comments such as, “Lindsey makes me happy” or “It’s so great that Lindsey isn’t afraid to be herself.” My followers revere me as an icon of happiness; however, just a few years ago, I was a very different person than I am today. In my college years, for no particular reason, I slowly sunk into depression and anorexia. The change took over my life so slowly that I never detected its intrusion into my personality. When I saw people who exuded genuine happiness, I looked at them longingly, wishing I could be like them. All the while, I assumed that some people were just lucky; I thought that some people were happy and some people just were not.
In my mind, I knew I was ugly, I knew I was worthless, I had no purpose and I frequently hid in my room, crying for no reason while my roommates laughed in the living room. It was ludicrous to think that what I was feeling was normal.”
Stirling hopes that sharing her testimony with others will inspire people to overcome negative stigmas surrounding mental health disorders and seek help.
“I share this with you not to call for your pity, but for two reasons: First, some people may strongly relate to these feelings but not realize that what they are feeling is not normal and more importantly, that they can change. Secondly, I never could have become a successful, world-traveling violinist if I had remained in this self-destructive state.”
But for Stirling, an important part of her journey with depression and anorexia began when she acknowledged she had a problem and began to seek help. Stirling sat down with a therapist and worked on ways to empower her mind.
The social media star admits that she her happiness is always a work in progress but it is something that she is dedicated to securing:
“As a recovering anorexic, I believe that happiness is achievable for anyone. I don’t pretend to be an expert and I am nowhere near perfect. The above comments merely stem from my experiences and my limited studies. But by using these ideas, I continue to work for my happiness on a daily basis. It has been the most important thing I have ever invested my time in and it has enabled me to choose and become who I want to be.”