A lot of people think camming is easy money. It’s not. But it is flexible.
And when it comes to dealing with mental illness, flexibility is key. Human minds rarely work in rigid patterns – especially not disordered minds. While in school, just knowing that I had to show up gave me panic attacks. I wanted to succeed – I just didn’t know how in a structure that rigid.
Having dealt with mental health issues my whole life, I dropped out of high school at sixteen after trying desperately to keep up with both school and nursing my brain. In hindsight, dropping out of high school was one of the best decisions I ever made. At the time, it further convinced me that there was no place in the world for someone who couldn’t even complete high school. And mental illnesses rarely just “go away” – just thinking about dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and executive function disorder for the rest of my life was exhausting. The thought of living a full life, one that included more than just struggling through my diseases became something I considered unachievable, something for people who knew how to be happy. And so by the time my 18th birthday arrived, I gave up. I would, I thought, claw my way through life until it got too tiring, too unbearable. Then I’d be gone.
[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Without camming, I definitely would not have the excitement for my future and belief in myself that I do now.[/tweetthis]
The day of my eighteenth birthday I signed up for several camsites and began broadcasting four days later. A few of my older friends were already camgirls, and I’d wanted to join since they first told me what they did. For someone with intense interest in both sexuality (especially kink) and psychology, it was fascinating. And perfect for me, who wanted to move out of my parent’s house as soon as possible, if only to prove to my family that I was capable.
It’s a year later now. I live in an apartment with my best friend, make enough to live on, and am able to work at a job that inspires me to put in effort.
While the pressure of camming can be intense, especially if it’s your only source of income, it’s manageable. And if you can do more than just manage it, it can teach you how to overcome the inertia of mental illness.
Burnout is very real and far more so for mentally ill models, so I don’t recommend just throwing yourself at your computer screen while you have the energy. Use camming as a channel to understand and harness your energy. Before I started camming, my executive function disorder meant that when presented with a challenge, I usually did one of two things; give up or attack it with such ferocity that I tired out fast. Usually so fast that I never even finished the problem at hand. Since camming I’ve learned how to measure my energy and apply it to what needs to get done.
Another benefit to webcam modelling- there’s always something else you can be doing, always another stone to build yourself up with.
The sheer number of options of what you could be doing today to “build your brand” aren’t an insurmountable wall between you and success. Being on cam should obviously be a priority. But if you need a little time after a panic attack, or are trying to gain the momentum you need to start broadcasting, there are a million options to explore. Promoting your Twitter, organizing your cam space, and setting up games to play on cam are all low-key and still worth your time as a webcam model.
When you’re a webcam model, energy is your whole business.
You need energy to put on an entertaining performance on cam, you need energy to promote yourself, to keep up with regulars. Most mental illnesses affect your energy. Whether it drains it, or gives you short bursts of uncontrollable energy, it’s hard to keep up with the constant need to pour yourself into your work. Burnout is a phrase regularly used by webcam models to describe a lack of enthusiasm for their own hustle. Burnout has a lot of direct correlations to depression. It leaves you tired out, wanting to do more but without the will to do it. It’s nearly impossible to cam and make money while you’re feeling burnt out, unless you’re a damn good actor. Members pay for, in essence, excitement and entertainment. If you don’t have that, what do you have?
Trick question. You still have yourself. And while usually the best thing to do is just get on for an hour or two and see if you can pick yourself up, sometimes it’s OK to just take a break.
[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#camgirltips #camgirlsunite”]A lot of people think camming is easy money. It’s not. But it is flexible.[/tweetthis]
Plan it like a vacation. Hustle extra hard for a few days, and then take the same time to dedicate to yourself. Give your brain a nap from the constant movement of camming and let yourself remember that you are more than just whatever role you take on behind your screen. Explore how you unwind – taking long baths with candles is fun, but it doesn’t really work for everyone. Mental illness can make it hard to remember who you are as a person, what you love and what makes you feel good. Take some time to really rediscover those things. If you don’t find a perfect answer, don’t worry. You’re human, and you might not ever find all the answers to those questions. But as long as you’re trying, you will find more knowledge of yourself, and in turn, how to work to your best advantage.
Burnout is manageable. But it’s still a pain in the ass to deal with.
And realistically, not all of us have the ability to take a few days off camming to let their mind relax. That makes dealing with mental exhaustion before it drops you all the more important. Make your cam room somewhere you enjoy being, somewhere you can chat and truly play. Don’t do things you’re uncomfortable with; consider every show you do on cam part of your “brand”. You’ll get more customers that you genuinely enjoy working with, which will keep you from getting sick to death of logging on every day. Whatever tactics you use to calm or center yourself when dealing with mental illness can almost definitely be applied to camming.
Most grounding tactics, including meditation, are designed to clear your mind and give you energy, both things you want as a mentally ill webcam model. Staying afloat as your own person will enable you to do your best at your job as well.
[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Whatever tactics you use to calm or center yourself when dealing with mental illness can …be applied to camming.[/tweetthis]
All in all, camming and my mental illness have a lot in common, and maybe they do for you too. For me, they both require careful attention, a sort of background monitor of my own emotional state. While camming for survival, I’ve learned lots of tricks that allow me to manipulate this state so that I can get it done- whatever “it” may be. Without camming, I would most likely not have achieved any of my goals this past year, and definitely would not have the excitement for my future and belief in myself that I do now. I’m no longer a hopeless seventeen year old girl with a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-destruction.
11 thoughts on “How Webcam Modeling Helped Me Survive Mental Illness”
This gives me hope. I’m having a hard time camming I’m used to being a stripper. But your story of dropping out and other elements sounds like me thank you
A few years ago after a head injury I became epileptic. Over the learning process and with successful medication it’s not as major of a road block but for a while I’d lose jobs within months over calling in sick needing seizure recovery days. It would at worst take a couple of days. It’s something understandably most employers can not work around. I’m reading up on camming again with the intention to start but I’ve said that before. I just read this and it made me consider, camming has always been in the back of my mind as this safety net I was comfortable with, wouldn’t get “fired” from needing a sick day and work from home diminishes other road blocks cause by the epilepsy. It’s just a big sigh of relief. I’m really looking forward to getting started.
Thank you for sharing, AngelCakes! Your experience of camming as a “safety net” totally resonates with me, although I honestly just decided to make it my main source of income after a few months of dabbling. Definitely a huge sigh of relief for me as well. If I can help in any way as you’re getting started you know where I am. 🙂
Thank you for this post, Nina. I’m just getting started in camming and I also struggle with similar diagnoses (esp. depression and PTSD), so any success stories and strategies are really helpful to me right now.
Hi nina. I am 28 years old and I have a mental illness. I am considering being a webcam model. I have a few questions. Does your anxiety ever affect your work? Are you anxious to go out in public?
I suffer from pschizotypal personality disorder and I get anxious and paranoid in public and social settings. Do you think it is the best option?
I am at home all day and I am extremely bored. I live with my parents.
I don’t know if Nina’s still watching this post, but I thought I would share my opinions just in case. I personally deal with severe generalized and social anxiety. I’ve found camming to be a relatively safe place where my mental health or lack thereof doesn’t stop me from succeeding. I think it’s an excellent option for someone with mental illness who can’t hold a “regular” job. While it does take a lot of work and dedication, it also allows a lot of freedom and autonomy. Living with parents might be a tad tricky, but only you know what will work for your situation. I wish you the best in your endeavors, and thanks for stopping by O Camgirl.
Thank you Nina for your post. You’ve just made my night. I’m exactly in your situation with mental illness and feeling the need for freedom. Self expression and creativity are very important to me also.
I know now that I’m not alone in considering/working in this industry with a mental illness.
Hi Nina, can I ask you how much hours you work per week as a webcam model? And how long do you think you can be a webcam model? I assume you can’t do this forever, right. I ask this because it’s my issue: I’m twenty-six and can’t work for a boss, but I’d love to be a webcam model too. I wonder how long I can be a webcam model before I’m too old?
It really varies! Sometimes I work much more or less depending on how well it’s going, but it probably averages out to around four hours a day five days a week – at least that’s what I try to shoot for as an average.
I don’t have an age that I expect to quit camming, though I don’t necessarily expect to do it forever. There are cam models of all ages though, and definitely twenty-six is NOT too old to do well camming. You might want to do some extra research on it though – I’m nineteen and have only been camming for a year, so I may not be the most knowledgeable person to ask about camming as an older model.
Hey DeeDee, to help answer your question about age, I am twenty-seven and have been camming since I was twenty-one. I thought for sure my camming career was coming to a close around the age of twenty-five, since it seemed like most camgirls were in their teens. However, I’ve gained popularity and followers in the past year, and many regulars love the fact that I’m older than those teen girls because older ladies tend to be more professional about the whole business. They figure I’ll be around for a while. I had planned on retiring around the age of thirty, but this past year I’ve met some incredibly successful cammers in their late 30’s and even in their 40’s! And if you think about it, ladies in their 40’s must have gotten their start as mature women because camming wasn’t really a thing when they turned eighteen now was it?
Conclusion: Don’t let age get in the way of being successful on cam. Some men prefer older ladies, and there’s not as many of us in this demographic. Use it to your advantage, or do as I do and dress up to pretend to be much younger. Best of luck!
Deedee, there are cam women whom are 50+ years old and they’re very successful. You can do it as long as you want to! You can even make fetish clips now or when you’re older as there’s a fetish for everything. Work as few or as many hours per week as you want to and can without getting burnt out. 🙂
Raven Skye @raven69skye