TotalBiscuit Quits Social Media, The Stress Of YouTube Fame
John “TotalBiscuit” Bain is a pillar of honor and integrity when it comes to the geek community. He started out doing humble World of Warcraft content which later led to well respected reviews until finally he now hosts one of the most watched podcasts on Twitch often gathering tens of thousands of viewers. He has done all of this while being married, having a son, finding time to enjoy his own hobbies like Starcraft or Warhammer 40K, all while battling terminal cancer.
Although many fans knew TB(TotalBiscuit) was sick, it wasn’t until his announcement in 2015 that the sickness was inoperable. I can not speak for other fans but I was personally crushed by this news as I hold him close to my heart as a friend I’ll never get to meet and a teacher who has opened my eyes to so many viewpoints without ever getting the chance to say thank you. Now I want to be perfectly clear, TB is not dead and he even stated that he is going to fight with every fiber in his being to combat his illness for as long as he can. He still maintains his Youtube channel on a regular basis, hosts his podcast every Tuesday, and even streams frequently.
He also managed his social media accounts for sometime to both interact with fans and deal with harassment from time to time. In a series of unfortunate events, the harassment grew far too great for TB as he recently released this message to all of his fans, this five minute audio clip contains a series of raw emotion that drips from every single word he utters.
When I heard his concerns and frustrations when dealing with fans and harassers alike, I completely understood his reasoning. If my life was running the risk of coming to an end within the next couple years, I too would shed anything and everything stressful that I could to focus on living. When I spoke to a close friend of mine about the situation, I was surprised by his response. “This isn’t the first time he has done this.” he replied “Did you see the sub reddit posts that led up to this? A few fans critiqued the way he reviews certain games and did not have bad points.” he continued on a bit more and even requested that if I were to write this article on TB, I would explain in detail about the subreddit posts that may have caused this. I did review the content provided and other posts and, to give my friend credit, they were not earth shattering nor were they overly offensive but very well still may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back but not the overall reason he quit.
I firmly believe it is the weight of his own success that causes him so much pain and frustration. Not just his success but also that of his peers as well. Not even six months ago I wrote an article about how a member of Cyndago, a close friend of Markiplier, committed suicide. While the reasons were never officially stated, there is usually a common theme which is severe unhappiness due to not being able to accomplish certain aspirations in life, whether it was a certain level of success or to be free from his situation and live the life he truly wanted to.
Markiplier himself has a video explaining why he would be inconsistent with his posting for a short time due to depression. A self made man who started with humble origins that grew to staggering success in the millions should be the happiest man in the world, right? Sadly, the anxiety seems to grow with every hundred thousand that follows him.
This isn’t the only video he has posted about his depression either, this doesn’t mean he is weak, he is just far more vocal about the stress of the job than many others. Even the Game Grumps crew talks in their many videos about how the handle the stress and popularity while trying to balance being normal human beings. On one episode of Super Mario Galaxy, one fo the two hosts, Danny, recalls a memory of Arin dealing with everything before they went to speak on a panel. (1:47 is when it starts and ends at 4:30.)
They may saturate the discussion in laughs and giggles but being so down trodden that you have fits of joking of suicide and checking out mentally are terrifying signs. At this moment in time, Arin might have the resolve and strength to wake up every morning and continue the gauntlet of video games, videos, attending panels and so much more but I fear that one day (and it may have already came multiple times) where he just breaks down and wants to quit. Could anyone truly blame him for wanting to live a normal life?
Dunkey is a unique case in this list because unlike the others, Dunkey is an outlaw in the YouTube community for his raw, in your face humor. He plays games, just like the others, to produce incredibly funny videos. His followers love and accept Dunkey in his many forms but where his struggle comes in is being accepted as a serious gamer. For years he made League of legends videos that were golden, my friends and I quoted his videos time and time again like many others. Yet when Dunkey reaches out to Riot who are the owners of League of Legends for a small favor, they do not have his back and instead snub him. It was a slap in the face to a man who makes videos for the fun of it and who has promoted League of legends so many times over the years. It’d be enough to crush me and make me feel as though all my hard work was for nothing, I can’t imagine how many hours he spent dealing with harassment, earning the respect of his fellow gamers, and even editing every single video.
Sky Williams is a Youtuber who became famous for his unique comedic style. His struggle might have been even harder than the others on this list due to the fact he is a black and gay content creator. The amount of negativity he receives on a daily basis is jaw dropping, yet he continues to move forward, making others laugh with his humor and giving advice to those who might be struggling in their own ways. Yet in various videos he spills small nuggets of truth about his life that offer a glimpse into his own concerns. Relationships, not being good enough, being past his prime, and many other fears build up that might cause him to break down when the camera is turned off.
There are countless more examples I could link to but my point is that being a professional YouTuber is filled with stress and frustrations. As outsiders looking in, we might believe it to be the best job in the world and in certain aspects it might be true but the downside of such fame is riddled with horrors very few of us experience. Yet they continue to create content for their fans or because they are legally required to carry on. It is a tragedy that such wonderful human beings are treated like garbage for their hard work and try as they might, most are unable to silence the voices of doubt in their minds.
So bringing the discussion back to TotalBiscuit, I understand why he quit all forms of social media. I don’t believe the posts on his sub reddit were overly offensive and his fans just wanted to give him advice on what would make for better reviews, but could have sparked comments that became offensive. Personally, I think any and all content TB creates should be met with praise and appreciation because we have no idea how many more videos we’ll get to watch from him. Old gods and new, I hope he is able to live a long and healthy life to see his son grow strong and his wife grow old but we must also accept the fact we could lose our hero.
I encourage anyone and everyone reading to take a moment and reach out to those Youtubers or streamers who you appreciate and say thanks for everything they do. It might not be much but with the sea of bullshit they deal with every day, they might just land on your tweet or comment and make them feel a bit better about their situation.
If by some small chance TB is reading, I apologize for my shitty writing and just wanted to say thank you for everything you have done. You’ve inspired me time and again and if given the chance I’d buy you a beer and play/ paint Warhammer 40k with you until you kicked me out. I hope you find the peace and comfort you are looking for in life and do whatever you need to get there.
If anyone out there is suffering from depression and needs a helping hand, I highly suggest you contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1 (800) 273-8255. You are never alone.