I am an amateur writer aiming to break stigma and generate more understanding and informative content about mental health.
I know what it's like to have people be mean to you and I would never want to make other people feel like that.
Please note that the following article deals with the topics of mental illness, eating disorders and bullying. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out to someone you know and trust and please acknowledge this as your trigger warning.
Who Is Eugenia Cooney?
Eugenia Cooney is a YouTuber and live streamer whose passion lies in creativity, make-up, beauty, clothing hauls, cosplay and vlogging.
Eugenia has shared a bit about her life growing up dealing with bullying at school, stating that being bullied really badly in school caused lasting damage to her overall mental health and self-esteem.
The Lasting Impact of Bullying on Self Esteem
Throughout her video speaking out about her experience with bullying, behind the fine lines of Eugenia's vibrant and bubbly personality, you can see the pain and the lasting negative impact that her experience in school has had on her self-esteem and her natural validation of her own self today, minimizing her own experiences, pain and the hurtful things that she went through being bullied in school.
It doesn’t take long to see from watching any of her videos that Eugenia is a very caring and empathetic individual, someone who has endless love, understanding and kindness to give even to those who are mean to her.
However, it also doesn’t take long to notice the heartbreaking pattern she has of doubting herself for things that do not warrant any doubt or criticism at all.
Throughout her Mental Health Check In video, she’s seen displaying visible anxiety surrounding her tips and kind words to her viewers and fans whom she very genuinely loves and cares about. Seemingly fearing that she will say the wrong thing or be met with horrible criticism, in a video that she created to spread love, she is anxious about how her words will be taken. Eugenia is a pure soul who wants to spread positivity and kindness and she does so with so much grace.
So why is there so much hesitancy?
“The fact that she keeps apologizing for having dreams and being herself really resonates with me. I was verbally abused as well and how she keeps saying ‘I’m sorry’, ‘that’s dumb' - I know is literally what I would say as well. I can’t wait to watch her become confident and accept all of herself. I hope she can also forgive herself for not loving herself sooner.”
— Stated one commenter on the My Bullying Story YouTube video
Eugenia is a very genuine, kind and just all-around good person. Good and kind people get treated the worst in society. People are always so quick to assume there’s an ulterior motive, sometimes even going as far as analyzing everything, their body language, and every word someone says.
When it comes to Eugenia, people are always trying to find the minor slip-ups to twist into their own narrative of “see, she is not as good as she seems.” and Eugenia knows that people do this.
When in reality, there is no ulterior motive. Some people are just genuinely good.
It all comes down to this.
People are concerned about the effect Eugenia’s appearance has on some of her audience. However, Eugenia is not responsible for other people’s triggers regarding her illness.
Throughout Eugenia’s online YouTube and streaming career, people have speculated that she may suffer from an eating disorder, more specifically anorexia nervosa due to her appearance, raising concern over her health.
Initially, when asked about it, Eugenia had a habit of denying that there was anything wrong with her and quickly trying to change the conversation topic.
People became frustrated over Eugenia’s presumed lack of acknowledgment of her ED, sparking concern for the well-being of her fans and herself.
But on the other side of the argument, maybe, she just didn’t want to talk about something so personal.
A mixture of Eugenia’s initial denial of her health and some of the audience’s ignorance surrounding eating disorders, people have concluded that Eugenia was promoting a pro-anorexia lifestyle, despite her never actually referencing her eating disorder during that time or openly encouraging others to be like her.
People speculate that the blue butterfly emoji is used to represent pro-ana (pro-anorexia) communities, however, there is very little evidence to back up that claim.
People often try to provoke Eugenia in her live streams, stating or asking her inappropriate and invasive questions regarding her body, they want to see a reaction and they often use her reactions to further villainize her.
Eugenia is often seen visibly uncomfortable talking about things on a deeper level and has a harder time being direct because those conversations simply make her feel awkward. It is not fair for people to continue pushing and guilt-tripping her to be open about her eating disorder.
She is not only a human being worthy of respect but also a young woman who should never have to feel pressured to tell anybody anything that she’s not comfortable talking about.
Eugenia has stated that she doesn’t like when people assume things about her or that she lies a lot.
Over the past couple of years, since her, mental health hiatus and the release of Shane Dawson’s documentary, Eugenia has grown more confident in herself and started opening up more about her struggles with her mental health and eating disorder.
Eugenia Deserves Better
When Eugenia started speaking out more about her struggles it was met with a lot of understanding and praise. People started apologizing, deleting their call-out videos, deleting their comments and Eugenia was receiving a lot more kindness than she had previously.
However, when Eugenia seemed to relapse, and her health started to decline again, people were quick to villainize her again.
Anyone who is familiar with mental illness and eating disorders will know that recovery is not usually a linear thing. It takes time and patience.
“This condition frequently entails a lifelong struggle to maintain a healthy weight and many patients relapse from time to time.” stated a commenter on YouTube.
While some people may argue that their use of “tough love” and holding Eugenia accountable for her illness is beneficial to her, could it actually be slowing and damaging her progress?
Another YouTuber by the name; Of Herbs and Altars has pointed out that the way people treat Eugenia has a positive effect on her wellbeing.
“People showing her love online, it did make her seek recovery. When people started to treat Eugenia better, she started to get better.” Stated Of Herbs and Altars.
The Reality of Mental Illness
The truth about people struggling through life-long mental illness is that there is so much more than what is portrayed online. Eugenia's situation is serious and very disheartening for those who love her and want to see her get better and thrive and just enjoy life to the fullest like she deserves to.
The harassment and bullying that Eugenia faces for being symptomatic is in no way beneficial to her or anyone else struggling with eating disorders or other mental health conditions. It portrays the idea that 'people should be able to just get over their condition and diminishes the complexity and severity of it.
The reality of mental illness is that people struggling, do not always see things that others on the outside of them do. People with some types of chronic mental health issues are conditioned by their mind to feel that what they are going through is normal and they may fail to see the seriousness of their condition because it's all that they have known for so long. The body and mind do a very good job of adapting to its surroundings.
Because of this, relapses are something to be expected and that needs to be understood more. It does not mean that all hope is completely lost.
Loving someone comes easy but supporting someone with a mental illness and through relapses can be extremely complicated and requires a lot of dedication while the both of you learn more about what it's like going through certain things and conditions.
There may be differing points of views from those around the person and the person themself as the journey to recovery moves forward.
A Redditor Hits The Nail on The Head:
"Having followed the Eugenia Cooney case for a while, and having listened to a variety of opinions on this issue,.. it has occurred to me that there is a certain way we have come to expect influencers to approach the discussion on mental health. Or rather, THEIR mental health.
When I see youtubers, for example, talk about their mental health struggles, they are usually well put together in appearance. Maybe wearing a bit of makeup (but not always), are usually well spoken, and are seemingly in a good place mentally to open up about their struggles and the challenges they have faced.
I understand why these videos exist and why they are made the way they are made. Obviously I don't expect people to be unkempt, and display harmful behavior on video, for potentially thousands or millions to see.
These videos give just enough information to where one can empathize, relate, or feel heard. As the audience we may feel comfortable enough to share our own experiences as well, because now this influencer has opened up and provided the space to do so.
But while we indulge in this manner of welcomed, open safe spaces that these online creators make, we have to also fundamentally understand that we are still so far removed from who this person is when they are at their worst. Due precisely to the very same mental health struggles they are dealing with and are talking about.
It's a stark contrast. I look at Dorian's (Of herbs and altars) videos on their experiences with Anorexia, and the transparency. And Eugenia, who is the exact opposite.
With Dorian, its easy, because they let you in just enough to empathize, relate, perhaps understand, and gain some knowledge. But you will still never see this person at their worst, or what its like to be their friend when symptoms of their ED are at their peak. And we will especially never understand what it is, to be in their life, going through it for years on end, as a friend or family member.
With Eugenia, unfortunately, her ED is at its peak. It makes her far less then the best person she could be. And when a person is in the middle of that storm that is the accumulation of their mental illness (whether it be an ED, depression, Bipolar disorder, you name it), people don't like that person.
People, I think, HATE that person. The person who is at their worst because of their mental illness.
But rarely on social media do we see this person. So as a society, we are ill equipped to understand them. We are detached from them, the same way we are still detached from many of these online creators.
Eugenia has been going through this for years, and viewers are making the same mistakes that many make, when trying to support someone with a mental health diagnosis. They resort to frustration, anger, blame, toxic vitriol, shame, abuse. They get impatient, angry, per haps self righteous.
They don't understand why something as obvious to them, which is to seek help and recovery, isn't so painfully obvious to someone like Eugenia.
Eugenia forces us to confront an ugly reality. Not so much about what the illness can do to a person.
But rather, the reality, that supporting someone with a mental illness is a lifelong, multi-year commitment. The reality, of our helplessness. Our lack of understanding. Our limits. That we will get angry. We will lose patience. We will think horrible thoughts about the one we love. We will hurt them, just as much as they will hurt us. That kindness will not always get through. That as online strangers, even with our best intentions, can never hope to reach her.
She has given us a taste of the reality of what it is to be that friend, to be that sibling, that partner, that parent. The one on the outside looking in. So desperate to want to save the person they love, the one untethered by their illness, but hating the person they are when consumed by it.
It is the ugly reality of hate for that person, of that vulnerable person we proport to love, that we are confronted to face."
My hope for this article has two purposes. The first and most important one to me is to show Eugenia that she is not alone.
That she has an army fighting for her who know that she is a very special and important person in the lives of so many who truly love and care about her.
My second reason is to further educate about Eugenia's situation and the complexity of mental illnesses including eating disorders in a way that shows Eugenia and her struggles in the truest light because Eugenia deserves people to understand a little more about what she is going through instead of just seeing the hate that people are saying about. Being symptomatic is never a reason to bully and harass someone.
There is more to Eugenia than her illness but her illness, what she is going through and what she learns about herself a long the way is a big part of who she is.
Dear Eugenia: those of us who love you and see you as our own friend, mark my words, we will never give up on you.
Eugenia Cooney Is a Light In This World
Even after all the bullying in her childhood and through all the internet bullying as well as dealing with her own complex mental health being the center of the world’s eye, she still focuses on being every aspect of her wonderful self and doing what she does best, being creative and continuously trying to make the world a little bit of a better place.
She stays good. Even when the world is nasty to her. Even after everything that she went through, all of the abuse and bullying, she never lets any of that make her bitter or mean.
Her smile lights up a room, she still chooses to be kind, still chooses to be herself.
Our world needs to take some notes on Eugenia because she embodies every example of how we are supposed to treat each other.
There needs to be more people in the world like her.
Eugenia is a light in this world.
People are people so just be kind.
— Eugenia Cooney
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 sunnwrites