Discord/Streaming Debacle

For anyone wandering across this page, this is mostly my streaming community, the Forest Fam. If you’re not involved in that you can skip 😊

A few weeks ago, I abruptly deleted my discord server and stopped streaming when I wasn’t in a good place mentally. I do really want to apologize for the abruptness, that wasn’t the proper way to do things. I wasn’t in a good state of mind, to the point of having a bit of an emotional breakdown, and I probably had a bit of that “no one will miss it anyway” mindset that depressed or struggling people can have.

I want to explain a bit more about why it was sudden… I think I was having a bad effect from a medication change, which I later reversed; I felt a lot better as soon as I corrected that. That definitely didn’t help matters, but I was also just really dwelling on and feeling the weight and pressure of maintaining an active community. On that Tuesday (my last stream before I deleted the server), I was really looking forward to stream and I was in a good mood, but I ended early feeling deflated. I’ve tried to convince myself that quiet streams are okay, but the truth is, if they’re too quiet too often, well, that’s just not why I stream. I like the interactability with chat, the feeling of playing and chatting with pals, the unpredictable conversations and shenanigans. Streaming has a social appeal for me, and when it lacks that, it becomes the polar opposite. Instead of being at a party with friends, it feels like I’m the one standing alone at a party, awkward and anxious. I’ve tried to keep things as lively as I can… I literally write things to bring up in a Notepad before stream, and I have lists of Icebreaker questions that can be redeemed with channel points, but I could always just whip one out randomly. Except it comes to a point I feel like a dumbass asking an icebreaker or grasping at straws trying to get chat started when it’s so obvious that’s what I’m doing. And narrating a creative-style stream can feel dull for both me and chat, I feel… Well, let me correct that. I think *I’m* sometimes more affected by quiet streams than my viewers are. They probably bother me more than my viewers because of how they make me uncomfortable, and how they’ve worn on me with their unpredictability ever since New Horizons has lost its newness. Because in this weird past-its-prime-NH-era, I’ve had some killer streams that left me grinning the next day, and some that made me not want to stream again for a while; it’s totally unpredictable and *that* can be anxiety-inducing too, not knowing what you’re gonna get when you hit the Go Live button. You can try your best and that’s all you can do, but you can’t control who shows up or who chats or what the vibe is like. As that Tuesday stream showed, you can start in the best mood and confident, and still end up deflated at the end.

Anyway, after that stream, I was really struggling with confidence and with facing another stream on Saturday, and meanwhile I was feeling a lot of weight over feeling like my discord was dead too. A weight is just the best way I can describe it, this nagging thing weighing on me, that I have this server I’m responsible for and it’s dead. All I have to do is click on another streamer’s discord icon to compare myself and I will see that mine is uniquely quiet compared to many others, and how does that make me feel? What is wrong with me? …I’m not blaming anyone but myself for this, believe me!! I’m just describing what was weighing in my head and being honest about it. Sometimes in discord, I’d wonder whether to even post a good morning or to share something about my day in #chit-chat, what if no one responds and I look stupid? What if it gets 10 reactions showing 10 people saw it but didn’t want to say anything? And why am I thinking like this at all? I just hated the way all this made me feel and think, I really really did. I hope the way I’m describing it makes a bit of sense, even if it’s not the *right* way to be looking at discord, or whatever. I know that intellectually it isn’t. I know the right thing to do would have probably been to say, “hey forest fam, I’m kind of struggling right now and I need to focus on my move, taking a discord break!” But the weight that was on me and the emotional breakdown I was having over streaming confidence related things (at the *worst* time, when I needed to focus on packing) made me end it in a few clicks instead of typing an announcement hiatus post.

I actually intended to keep streaming despite deleting the discord, and go live the next day explaining why I did it. I had seen one streamer on Twitter saying that it was valid for a streamer to not have a server, and I figured I could always make a new one if I wanted to and felt up to it- maybe I’d even go to all the trouble to really think harder about the organization, ans implement more bots this time. But I got messages saying that they’d miss my streams, so I got the impression that people thought I quit altogether with this. And truthfully it was hard to face what I did and act like everything was normal in a stream, so I put it off, and it kept feeling harder and harder… I also started struggling with sleep, headaches, packing stress, etc. I’ve been quite busy with moving-related things.

The more I’ve thought about it, I do kind of wonder if just closing the book on A Forest Life altogether would be best for me. I think it’s clear from the past year or so that my foundations aren’t as strong to deal with the uncertainty of going live, and that my mind may know fundamentally that my worth is above Twitch success, but “*the grind*” of streaming itself seems to wear down my common sense and mental health foundations and makes me vulnerable to breaking down. Time away heals me but time streaming seems to bring back the same struggles that always seem to arise.

Another point that makes me consider moving on is that, well, I know everyone keeps saying that 30 is still young and great, but the truth is that it probably means my youthiest youth is over and I have a few more young-ish decades left. I don’t bring this up to be argumentative, but it does frame my world-view, but I don’t believe in an afterlife either so I believe this consciousness I have remaining on Earth with my brain is all I got. And I’ve really been thinking hard about what I want to get out of life and what would make me happiest. You’d think I made it easier for myself by not having kids, but that decision along with my atheism/nihilism honestly makes finding purpose a little soulsearching at times. I really love what Animal Crossing has done for me as a passion, designing little worlds and landscapes as a creative outlet, complete with pixel art. But what more could I do? Do I follow the advice of wellness experts, who say that social relationships are the key to happiness – should I try to make more friends in the real world? Do I care about any achievements or goals, or do I care more about happiness and feeling like I lived and tried new things? With my love of astronomy, I like the idea of being a piece of the universe that is seeking to understand itself. If at the end of my life I felt that I had done that, I think that would make me happy. Another passion is art: some appreciation only (music), and some I would like to try my hand at creating and learning more (visual art, dance).

With all that said, there’s no right or wrong answer on whether or not streaming could still fit into my life; it’s simply a decision to be made, a difficult one. There’s no reason why I couldn’t get my shit together and stop having breakdowns over this stuff, or maybe make a rule like: when you’re having a breakdown about this, make an announcement of a break for a few days. But even now I feel doubt on if people would even want to keep watching, or if people are mad at me and hate me now, my brain can just be so….a lot when it comes to this space. I feel a lot clearer when I am away from it.

It’s a shame because streaming has brought a lot of joy as well. When my stream was at its best, I think it was a good combination of fun and thoughtful conversations with a not-too-big-not-too-small community, and I had a uniquely passionate focus on ACNH design in which I took it very seriously but had fun with chat while doing it. I had lots of laughs and memories I’ll never forget, accomplishments and charity campaigns, and met amazing people (even if, as a downside, I didn’t always stay connected to everyone… that is one thing I’ve struggled coping with, the negative of a positive).

I don’t mean to use past tense^ like I’m quitting forever, and in fact, I haven’t made up my mind on that and never really like to use the word forever when it comes to things like this, because my streaming equipment was expensive and I have a right to use it, and I want to allow myself that freedom that minds aren’t always set forever. I’m going to be giving this some thought ❤️

Thanks for reading, and truly, thanks to everyone who has supported me! I really feel bad for how this all went down, and it doesn’t take away that my journey on Twitch was really special and I’ll always remember the fun times too. 🥰 I love the Forest Fam and I’m so glad to have experienced ACNH with such a beautiful, creative, uplifting bunch of people. You all made me laugh so much, and I would brighten at seeing your names pop in chat, and at seeing your notifs pop up, and I’m tearing up right now… I really do love y’all, I’m just mentally unstable for the Twitch/Discord/community culture, IDEK, or maybe I do a really bad job of juggling it with my real life because of poor coping mechanisms? I’m just trying to say it’s my fault, no one else’s. Thank you ❤️

15 thoughts on “Discord/Streaming Debacle

  1. Love you so much Amy, and as always appreciate your candid and thoughtful insights on life and creating. Your streams, blog posts and general existence online has been a homing beacon for me during many difficult periods of my life all the way back to the New Leaf tour days.

    I will always support you no matter which direction that you decide to choose, and hope that you know how appreciated you are by me and so many others in the Forest Fam. I also hope that you know that we’re here for you through these challenges and celebrations that you experience, and love you fully through it all.

    Grateful to have you as a friend and admire you immensely as a creator.

    All the best to you my sweet friend. 💙

    • Thank you so much Knimbley 💚 I’m grateful to have you as a friend and source of inspiration too, and your words mean a lot 🥺

  2. I noticed a drop off in your streams suddenly and was alarmed when I realized your discord was missing. I’m glad I kept digging till I found this post. I’m sorry that streaming can be such a drain on your mental health. If you do return, I’ll be glad to see it! But if you choose to stay away for your mental health then that’s also okay. ❤

    Hopefully we'll still be able to keep in touch, no matter which way you end up going with your streaming. I feel thankful for the time I've been able to get to know you. ❤ ❤ ❤

    • Hey Kim, thank you! ❤️❤️ I’m so thankful for getting to know you too, laughing about hydration importance, learning more from acnh/mimecraft from each other, and joining me on that event stream with Among Us! Thanks for keeping in touch through it all, and absolutely, I still have my discord user account and I have reactivated some of the accounts that I deactivated – for now. I’m maybe most active on my IG aforestliving rn, it’s where I post little updates like cats or good days or things like that. Here for chats anytime 🥰

  3. Hi Amy! I only just saw this post and thought I’d add my two cents. I don’t even know if you still need them, but…

    I think you made two points here that are key, and I think you’ve done all you need to do for now:

    1. You feel a lot clearer when you’re away from the stream/discord sphere – And rightly so. I simply can’t imagine the constant pressure of putting yourself on display and feeling the constant need to please. I think this is such a valuable thing, stepping away to see the bigger picture of what *you* need, and spending time on that.

    2. Nothing needs to be ‘forever’. You don’t need to make any sort of decision now. If you’ve got a lot of thoughts and feelings to untangle now, together with some newfound clarity gained in the quiet, take the time to focus on those. There’s no final decision you need to be racing towards. Your equipment and skills aren’t going anywhere.

    I know I don’t know the first thing about streaming, but I feel like I can relate to a small extent from my art-making experience. I remember when I started getting into drawing and I got better and better and better, and then my parents encouraged me to enter the local art show.
    Before that I really just did it because I wanted a good picture of whatever subject matter it was – the better I drew, the better picture I would hold in my hands at the end of it. It was satisfying. But then after the art show, where my drawings were well-liked and sold quickly, each time I drew I was thinking, “Will they like this?”, “What subject matter do they want to see?”, “How many people are going to notice I drew the beak wrong on this bird?”. That lack of confidence can really hold you back, and it shows in your pen strokes.
    More importantly, comparing the two scenarios of before and after, you can easily see which one was a healthy state of mind and which one wasn’t. And really I needn’t have bothered worrying about all that stuff anyway; people liked my drawings in the first place because of what I did for myself, not for them.
    Up until realising that, I felt the need to keep entering my drawings in the annual art shows because I had done well each time prior, and I didn’t want to ‘let myself down’ by not performing. In the end, I both stopped entering the art shows because I moved away, and became too busy to do much art for myself due to teaching, so I guess the outcome of that realisation is yet to be seen? Haha.

    I guess that was a long-winded way to say, I am all for you staying away from everything so that you can find out what you want, who you are, what really matters, and put time into those things until you are in a good place. Fill your own happiness cup before you worry about sharing it with others. Be selfish this time, Amy!

    • Teru, you’ve been such a kind friend all these years and this thoughtful advice really comes from the heart (and experience), it sounds like, which means a lot ❤️ Thank you so much!

      My mind is a lot clearer away from the content creation sphere I think, but lately I’ve been hounded by some “what did I do it all for if I stop now?” type thoughts which is sort of sunk cost fallacy or FOMO or just wanting to hang on to the good parts. But I don’t know what it would look like if I started up again, would the same mental issues issues arise, would I have to quit again at some point and look even more unstable? I feel like it might be me just trying to hang on to what I had and I’d end up sad that I couldn’t, because of how things change over time. So maybe it would be best for me to do what you’ve said perfectly and see what life is like without it, at least for a little while at the very least. My setup isn’t even done at the new place because I need help hanging a TV, and I just got a 6 month old kitten with another adoption of a similar age on the way, so it’s hard right now even from a practical standpoint. My kitty is pretty insatiable and wants to play a lot.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me and your own personal background with similar struggles ❤️ A healthy state of mind with hobbies is important for both enjoyment and the quality of the finished product, that’s something good to remember.

      • I can totally understand having those thoughts Amy! It’s a whole lot to mull over. And boy do you have a lot on your plate right now too with the move and everything! (I have to say though new kitties sounds like an exciting problem to have 🥰) I hope things become clearer and easier to think through with time. And I’m here to chat if you need.

  4. Hello sweet Amy, I’m really sorry you’re struggling so much. I think social media can be lovely but also very tough and I support you 100% in whatever decision you make about streaming or having a discord server or not. I wish there weren’t these annoying USA-Europe timezones, cause I always love watching your streams and be a part of your community there. Still enjoying your vods so much, thank you so much for uploading them to youtube, I really appreciate the effort you have put into that! I hope you can find some peace and joy. Sending you a big virtual hug!

    • Hey Misty! Thank you so much ❤️ I kind of feel that way too, I could be overthinking it but I kind of feel like the human brain was evolved for more simple in-person connections, and navigating an online world designed to be social but that can have drawbacks like numbers or comparing yourself to others, can be really confusing for it. Thanks so much for the kind words and all your support over the years/months with the forest fam, plus the gorgeous island inspo 😍 I hope I can find some peace too and make good choices on my next steps ❤️ Sending you love and best of luck in your life, both in ACNH and the real world 🌎

  5. I’ve always been more of a lurker, and wasn’t in the Discord, I haven’t even touched this site in well over a year, but I understand a lot of the thoughts over streaming- I’ve had similar with my on and off streaming over the years. I archived my server a few years ago. At the least, you can always start again, and there will always be someone waiting for your return- especially with the people you’ve managed to touch.

    Streaming feels super competitive a lot of the time, technically is, and AC is such a niche community- all the streamers I watched during ACNL/ACNH have also extended to other games to keep an active community, and because they like playing other games. I think most of Twitch also just likes to lurk, especially when people are at work. It’s definitely a struggle when you want social interaction.

    Idk, overall there is a lot you can find in life. Focusing on offline is always a good priority. Take care of yourself, your health, your pets, because there will always be a space you can create, recreate, or return to online. There will always be new people to meet or old ones waiting. A lot of the streaming equipment, if not all, can also be used for other creative stuff online if you feel uncomfortable livestreaming (like, a podcast or videos, you know?). I wish you the best in all your decisions, always enjoyed your vibes.

    • Your username is so distinctive, I remember you! ❤️ Thanks for lurking and saying you enjoyed the vibes, that means a lot! Thanks as well for this really thoughtful comment, it touches on some anxieties I’ve had about “what do I do with my streaming equipment then?” …taking up a wall in my 2-bedroom living space, lol. But I’m not ready to get rid of it yet, and it’s a good reminder that it can be used for other creative endeavors. My laptop isn’t powerful enough for some things. And what you said about moving forward offline, that’s really valuable to hear.

      Yeah, I feel like I struggled a little with the idea of branching out. ACNH fulfills a very unique gaming experience for me that isn’t very replaceable. I tried Stardew on stream recently and I remember meeting new people that stream, so I got a feel for what branching out can do for that. Stardew just doesn’t have the same design components I like, though, and while I was intrigued by some of the story stuff, it also all seemed very…hard. Pokemon I can get really into for a while, but I usually reach a point where it feels pointless to me, like when I’m raising competitive pokemon I’ll never use or when shiny hunting gets dull. So sometimes I don’t like to get into Pokemon because of preventing that sunk cost. Animal Crossing is never a sunk cost, I value everything I’ve created in it, all my old towns, and I can still go back and visit a lot of them. So AC is just kinda my forever game, and if I’m not gaming with AC, I’d tend to rather do something else entirely rather than play a different game. But I felt like not branching out did affect my community over time because part of the appeal was obviously enjoying ACNH with a community who enjoyed ACNH, but if you weren’t playing, why would you watch a stream of it?

      Thanks again, I look forward to forging a new path for myself with different focuses and interests, and my stream/office/art room is coming together if I ever want to give stream another go. I wish you the best too! ❤️

      • haha that’s nice to hear that my username sticks out! I always thought it was a good one.

        I completely understand about AC filling an unique experience! I still haven’t found another game that’s actually comparable- I’m not fond of the clones. I also don’t enjoy Stardew- although the aesthetics are cute. I’ve enjoyed FFXIV lately, but a lot of that was a social aspect/achievement hunting of MMORPG and friends. It’s not really the same. I try to look into the Wholesome Games recommendations- since they have a lot of cute stuff, but so far all of what I’ve played is kind of temporary like one shot story games/visual novels- but some of them are really good experiences. It really depends on what grabs your interest though. I try to not focus on replacing AC and just seeing what else is out there.

        I was always one of the ones who watched AC streams despite not playing because I didn’t wanna turn on my switch and liked to see what others were coming up with lol

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