Will Shepherd, the popular YouTube star who regularly vlogs with his husband, RJ Aguiar, got candid at the VidCon 2016 conference about how being diagnosed with a brain aneurysm changed his perspective on life.
“I got some pretty bad news from the doctor … and realized I was wasting a lot of time worrying about things I shouldn’t worry about,” Shepherd said at a panel that focused on YouTubers who are open about their mental health struggles online. “I thought, if I were to go, would I be happy? I realized I wasn’t.”
Shepherd, who often talks about his PTSD on his channel, says being open about everything – including the aneurysm – was one of the ways he found more joy in life.
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“There’s no guarantee you’re going to be given a whole life with which to make the most of, so I started making my own decisions to do whatever I needed to do to be happy,” he said. “As soon as I started talking to people about my struggles, they started to understand me more. My relationships with my friends, my husband, with my parents, got better.”
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Like most of the digital stars at the VidCon 2016 conference, Shepherd also said that sharing his story online was cathartic, and that most of the people he’s encountered in the sphere were, and continue to remain, supportive.
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“Some people were awful, but the vast majority weren’t,” he said. “These are people who gave their own issues legitimacy. The second you start admitting to yourself there might be something you need to take care or is the first step to taking care of it.”