Even if most are not too familiar with YouTube names, there’s a slight chance that some may recognize one of the video site’s brightest stars, Hartbeat.
Back in 2013, the now 27-year-old shot to internet infamy with a viral video that, as noted by the Daily Dot, displayed her wildly dancing around in a watermelon bikini to explain why her masculine sartorial choices had nothing to do with her sexuality.
“Just because you love something doesn’t mean you have to dress like it,” she says with a smile at the end of the hilarious clip.
Now, three years later, the inspirational Hart — as she usually refers to herself — has managed to strip away yet another layer of her being and in turn, share one of the most private parts of her life with the world: she suffers from schizophrenia.
Taking to her main Hartbeat YouTube channel in an emotional, uncensored video simply titled, “Hi, I’m Schizophrenic,” the California-based comedienne bravely revealed the nature of the mental disorder that she has only lightly touched on in the past.
“I’ve been trying to do this video for the last three years,” she expresses with an audible lump in her throat, “and every single time, it always ends up the same way: either I look like a hot-a** mess, or I instantly become scared. But what is real, is real.”
“Hi, my name is Hart and I’m schizophrenic.”
For those who are unfamiliar, schizophrenia is defined by Mental Health America as a disorder that “affects how a person thinks, feels and acts.”
“Someone with schizophrenia may have difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary; may be unresponsive or withdrawn; and may have difficulty expressing normal emotions in social situations.”
To this day, there is no known cure or definitive cause for schizophrenia.
Fighting back tears, Hart goes on to relay how coming out as a fighter of the malady was much more difficult than owning her place in the world as a lesbian.
“This is worse than coming out as gay; for me, at least,” she says. “Every single time I [perform my] stand-up [routines], I always say that there are only five things about me that society doesn’t understand and loves to hate on: being black, being gay, being fat as f**k, being a woman, and having crooked, but lovely teeth.”
“But I would never, like, speak on what I struggle with mentally, and what makes this awkward for me is that all of the other s**t [I go through] — I have no problem talking [about] all of that… but talking about this? I’m scared as f**k as to how this is going to affect me.”
Hartbeat discloses that she first diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 19, and chose to, at first, self-medicate and party her way through the issue. Marijuana and the occasional dalliance into Ecstasy allowed her to ignore the seriousness of the matter for a time, but ultimately worsened her condition to the point of where she not only attempted suicide three times, but found herself placed into a mental asylum on more than one occasion.
“I [often take] something negative and amplify it into something positive,” she continues, “because I’ve always had to run with what I’ve got going on, knowing that there’s no cure for what I’ve got. [While] it’s nothing physical, it can eventually lead to death [through suicide].”
“I never bring this up, because there’s already a lot that [I’ve] f***ing accomplished, [but] I feel like it’s necessary right now [because] I know [people] need to hear that [they’re] not alone; that there is somebody else out in the world, just like you, just like this, who just so happens to be a really successful person in [their] own f***king right.”
As the tears start to visibly fall, Hart asks her fans not to treat or reach out to her as an expert on schizophrenia, such as they may have when it comes to being LGBT, mostly because she’s still in the process of understanding it herself.
“I don’t want to be the advocate of this s**t,” she claims, “[because] I don’t know s**t about it, either. I’m scared to, like, tell the world [about] this very dark part of my life, because [on] social media, as soon as you place yourself in a group of people, you immediately become the advocate of that s**t.”
In closing, Hartbeat remarks that despite her illness, which directly relates to her persona as a public entity, she has no reason to ever give her place as a YouTube star.
“I can’t help that being an entertainer is in my blood,” she says with a light smile. “If anything, it’s the perfect job! I don’t have to [have] physical interactions with people all of the time — but [now], the cat’s out of the bag.”
That it undoubtedly is. Your fans are proud of you, Hartbeat. Keep fighting.
[Featured Image by Hartbeat/Facebook]