TikTok star Nessa Barrett, 20, says she doesn’t 'want to get off social media' despite its impact on her mental health

Nessa Barrett gets candid about her struggles with mental health and social media. (Photo: Getty Images)
Nessa Barrett gets candid about her struggles with mental health and social media. (Photo: Getty Images)

Nessa Barrett is opening up about how she's "struggled with her identity" as a result of navigating her social media presence and diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) during an interview for Call Her Daddy.

The 20-year-old TikTok star and singer has previously been candid about her mental health, sharing with the public that she lives with BPD as well as anxiety and depression. But as she's become more comfortable with who she is and what she shares online, she revealed that in her early days on the short form video app on which gained her notoriety, she was being far from authentic.

"The very beginning of me being online, I was doing whatever I could to be the person that everyone wanted me to be and to be liked and I faked almost everything. I wasn't being real, I wasn't myself," Barrett told podcast host Alex Cooper. "For one, like my style and my attitude. I have struggled with mental health so much and I am a pretty sad person but in the beginning I developed such a bubbly character that was almost like, 'Oh, I don't care. I'm just happy and giggly.' It was just not me and then over time, I just kind of allowed myself to be that person that everyone could make fun of."

While Barrett's earliest videos show her back in her childhood home in New Jersey, followers have since seen her move to Los Angeles, go through public relationships with two fellow TikTok stars and eventually share more vulnerable pieces of her life and her struggles with mental health. Through her latest venture with music, she's been able to do even more of the latter.

"I feel like the second I actually started, you know, making music and writing my music it really helped me understand who I was. And that's when I just stopped caring," she said. "I'm just going do what I want to do and I'm going to be myself because I mean it's like the best thing to do at this point."

Although music has been a positive outlet for Barrett, she noted that social media and the negativity that exists within it still impacts her and at times her self-worth. "I feel like everyone can say at certain points that what people say online is not going to affect them, but even if you don’t want it to and you don’t let it, subconsciously it’s gonna be in your head and it’s gonna do something," she said.

Nevertheless, she assured listeners that she would likely never step away from social media entirely.

"I've gone on a lot of breaks. The problem is, I'm a teenage girl and I don't want to get off social media and I also care too much about what people say. And so even though I know it's gonna hurt me if I'm reading comments online and scrolling until I find a negative one, because that's what I do for some reason, I'll just keep scrolling until I see a hate comment and then I'll keep scrolling until I see more. But it's like, I don't know, I just have a problem," she said. "My team suggests it all the time and even my friends and I know it's best for me. But I feel like sometimes I'll freak out more if I don't know what's being said about me. So it's a hard thing."

It's also the way that she cultivates a meaningful connection with fans by being open about what she's going through herself.

"I just have such strong sympathy for everyone that struggles mentally and goes through hard times that like I don't want to leave at all because I want to be here in order to make an impact for those struggling," she said. "I feel like I still have just so much to do."

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