Grief for a stranger

Girl with head in her hands looking at laptop screen

This past month, a popular YouTuber passed away. Even though we were total strangers, the grief feels like I've lost someone very close to me.

If you are struggling with grief or loss, the Counselling Service are a free service available to all UoA students. You can also reach out to the University Crisis Line on 1300 167 654 or text +61488884197 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

I hear all the time how big-name online stars have helped many people through the toughest of times. They can be a great source of happiness and laughter when it feels as though you have nothing to feel happy for. Being part of an online community does wonders to curb that creeping loneliness, too. So, when I saw a video of Technoblade's passing on his YouTube channel, I didn't know what to feel. I was completely thrown. To have a following of ten million subscribers is indicator enough that Technoblade had an incredible influence over many, many people and brought much joy to the gaming community.

It's common in times like these for other people to not understand how or why we're grieving over a person we've never even met before. But remember, there are literally millions of others around the world that will be feeling the same way. If you're feeling grief during this time, you are absolutely not alone.

It can be difficult to know how to navigate this great loss of the gaming community, particularly if we're confused on why we're feeling this way for a stranger. Here are some little things you can do to keep your mental wellbeing in a healthy place during this time:

Go offline: The news has been on every social media platform over the past few weeks. Instead of letting yourself be bombarded by it all, step away and have some downtime. You could watch a comfort movie, play some of your favourite solo games, go for a walk, or grab a coffee somewhere.

Talk to your friends: Don't keep these feelings to yourself. Talk to those in your social circle who are also navigating the loss. While there's people that might not understand, surround yourself with those that do so you can support one another.

Let your household know: It's important that those you live with know you're going through a difficult time right now. Let them know that you don't expect them to understand your feelings, but perhaps to just be mindful of them. This can ease the tension of the environment and let the space be a peaceful one for you.

Make a small tribute: This helps some people, it might not help others. I've seen lots of people online make artwork, animation, poems, even crotchet a creation as a tribute to Technoblade. You might find it helps to channel some of your emotional energy into something creative. You may also want to donate to Technoblade's chosen charity for cancer.

There's no reason to feel guilty for stepping away from the community for a while. We're not valuing any less how great a person Technoblade was by taking some time to distance ourselves from the emotions of it all. Your grief is real and valid, and the best thing we can do is to give ourselves permission to feel.

Tagged in What messes with your head, Loss