StillRyan: Overcoming mental health problems to TikTok stardom
The TikTok star now has more than 350,000 followers on the app.
Ryan "StillRyan" Hall let out a roar as he scored a Rocket League goal against professional footballers Jake Burton and Chris Merrie.
It was his loud and boisterous personality shining through. That trait reflects in almost all of his content. Whether it be his Twitch streams, TikToks or YouTube videos.
Another thing that is striking about Hall is the pure legitimacy of his persona. It may be cliche to some but the reason he has exploded online is down to the fact that he is just himself.
"Throughout my childhood, I’ve been that confident, loud kid who has attracted the attention to laugh with him," StillRyan told esports.gg. "That was just through school, I was always the first to make a joke."
Hall wasn't encouraged into content creation until he took a major knock on his confidence. The 20-year-old was attacked, leading to him reassessing his attitude.
"An incident happened a few years ago where I got my head punched in," Hall said. "I was jumped and that knocked me right down.
"I used to be this bubbly kid and this incident made me realise that I had to stop being energetic and start managing my energy."
StillRyan and fellow Twitch streamer Mousey at the launch of Tranmere Rovers' esports facility. Photo via Ant Stonelake
After slowly rebuilding his confidence, he started to share the jokes and banter that he created on social media.
"I put [that energy] into content and put it into video," Ryan added. "Instead of doing loud and funny stuff to no-one, I did it on camera and portrayed my positive characteristics of myself in my content. I had to rebuild slowly and get back into gaming and talking with the lads."
One of the things that StillRyan was clearly proud of was the community that he has managed to cultivate. Through his TikToks and his streams, he has a constant feeling of what his community, which he has named the 'StillGang' is up to.
Hall started to pull people together because of his own past experiences of dealing with problems by himself. It helps him to empathize with his community.
"I started the whole publishing content because I went through a tough time on my own," he said. "I said to myself that I never want anyone to go through anything on their own again."
As he chatted to his Twitch chat sitting next to professional sportspeople, it was really evident that he was just himself, and wanted people to be able to be the same.
"I created this place where people can be themselves," he added. "You can have up days, you can have down days but what we do is we have those days together. We have a down day, we have that down day together, we get [comfortable], we watch Netflix. If we have a good day, we celebrate them and we celebrate them together. That’s why I create content on social media."
"There are so many things that add up that you don’t see."
Ryan also dealt with the same anxieties and problems that many teenagers go through. Relationships and family problems were fought through in order for him to create content.
"Growing up as a teenager, girls, confidence, anxiety, it happens," he said. "You see me going out in public and you may think that I’ve got all the confidence in the world but I still get nervous, I still get excited. Problems differ, I had family problems. "
"Family members moving away, brother splitting up with his wife and my mum finding out personal things. There are so many things that add up that you don’t see. It’s hard to speak on. I get choked up about it because it’s not for me to speak on it. I was involved and I suffered because of it but it’s a family matter."
Providing a place for everyone
Twitch and video gaming in general can be a form of escapism for many. Ryan wants to be able to provide that distraction to his community but to not make his viewers and friends avoid their problems.
"It's so important. It’s a distraction but not a hideaway distraction," he said. "It’s a put-it-to-the-side and deal with it when you’re ready kind of distraction.
"If you are going through a crap day or are having an awful day in the office, come in the discord call with me and my mods and talk with the StillGang. Then you can go and approach it with the right mindset an hour later."
Ryan also made sure to emphasize that absolutely everybody could be part of his community. His passion and emphasis led this to seem so incredibly genuine.
"Anyone is welcome," he added. "I don’t care who you are, what you do, you are welcome. We’ve got people from around the world involved in the StillGang. Recently on my TikTok I’ve been getting a lot of messages saying stuff like “Hi I’m from Saudi Arabia, I love your accent” I love that. You love the scouse accent? Cheers, thank you."
Being able to chase a dream
During the event that launched Tranmere Rovers' esports venue, Ryan was given the chance to talk to a group of esports personalities and local reporters. He made it clear that he wants to set an example.
"It shows a pathway that it is possible to follow your dreams," he said. "You can go for it. You can follow your dreams. Take that step if its your passion. It’s not just content creation. There’s editors, there are videographers, there are journalists, gaming journalists. You can follow a different career path, it’s not just a content creator."
Contributor | Twitter @itsjustantnow
Doubling as a football (soccer) journalist following EFL League Two club Tranmere Rovers, Ant has a long-standing passion for gaming. That, combined with the drive to create content in the esports space led to the creation of The Rotation, a Call of Duty news platform.