ET spoke with the 17-year-old TikTok star about how online bullying and hate she’s received affects her mental health.
Nessa Barrett is getting candid about the struggles of being a TikTok sensation. While talking to ET's Katie Krause about her debut song "Pain," and its accompanying music video, the TikTok star revealed that she's bipolar, and why she decided to take a break from the social media platform.
"I have generalized anxiety disorder and bipolar [disorder]," the 17-year-old revealed to ET. "I've been in therapy for anxiety since I was, like, six. And then when I was about 14, I was misdiagnosed with depression. And then I recently have been diagnosed with bipolar."
With over 9.9 million followers on TikTok, Barrett admitted that the online bullying and hate took a toll on her mental health.
"All the hate got overwhelming," she expressed, adding, "I had to spend time away from reading comments, watching hate videos on me. It really took a toll on me and I just wanted to better myself by excluding social media."
"I'm just a teenager that is still growing and learning, and they're all watching me," she noted. "So there are gonna be times where I do make mistakes and people are very hard when it comes to that. And no matter how sincere or sorry that I can be, I'm still going to get criticized for everything that I do, which is hard but I learned that the hard way."
Barrett shared that TikTok has gotten "so toxic" and doesn't understand why people would write mean comments on other people's posts. "I could never say that to anyone," she acknowledged of the things she sees being said about her. "I can't really wrap my head around it. But it happens and it sucks, and we just have to deal with it. But I hope it changes."
As for how she deals with the bullying, she's taken small steps like disabling some comments on her platforms. "For my mental health, I realized that reading those comments and seeing those comments just wasn't healthy," she explained. "There was a point where I had deleted all my apps and would only re-download them to post. And then as soon as my stuff was posted, I'd delete them again so I wouldn't have to look at all the comments, any DM's."
Most importantly, Barrett wants people to understand that she, as well as other TikTok stars are human. "A lot of creators are human and have real struggles. When they just see us as a person on screen, they don't really care about our feelings, which I feel like a lot of people have to take that into account," Barrett expressed. "[I hope they] realize that before they type something and send it, because it is harmful."
One person who has been there by her side is Josh Richards. And while they have broken up, they are still close post-break-up.
"When you create that bond with someone, it was more like he was my best friend over everything," Barrett confessed. "So when we did end up taking our separate ways, we wanted to make sure that we remained that, like, best friendship that we had."
"We're friends and I just love that we're mature enough to keep our friendship after everything," she added. "[That's] what's important to me."
As for the possibility of ever getting back together, Barrett said, "Only time will tell, but right now I'm just really enjoying us being friends."
Barrett, meanwhile, is focusing on the good side of TikTok, which allowed her to make her dreams come true.
"I wouldn't be able to come out with my song a few days ago if I didn't have a platform that I did," the rising star said of her single "Pain." "It's crazy because I dreamt about singing. When I was little, that's all I wanted to do. So the platform that I was able to create on TikTok and Instagram and all of that really led the way for that, and I'm so grateful and I have the best supporters and the best fan base. I could never be more thankful for them."
As for the inspiration for the heartbreaking track written by Barrett, the teen said she wrote it during a truly vulnerable time.
"I was dealing with a lot, like heartbreak, hate on social media, loss of friendships and I was just going through a lot," Barrett explained. "I kind of wanted to express how I was feeling with my song because a lot of people can't really see how I truly feel through a 15-second TikTok video."
Additionally, Barrett also touched on the allegations that she copied Madison Beer's song and video for "Selfish," telling ET, "I did not copy her. It kind of hurt when people said that because my song was so emotional and so personal to me."
"When people said that I was copying her song and her music video, it really kind of took away from my feelings and what I went through and the whole meaning behind the song," she added.
Barrett also detailed how she got her emotions on paper and created the sorrowful tune, as well as revealed if she’ll be releasing more new music soon.
Watch the video below to hear everything she said about her music.
Nessa Barrett on ‘Pain’ Inspiration and Feeling ‘Hurt’ Over Madison Beer Comparisons (Exclusive)