A 13-year-old boy posts a very moving video on YouTube in August of this year. The video goes viral because it comes across as sincere and hits so close to home for many young kids; both, today and many [kids] we can no longer help. Most of Jonah’s friends have moved on to high school and at the time he posted the video, he only had one person whom he considered to be a really good friend left in middle school. From the video, it’s painfully obvious he is hurting.
Fast-forward four months and Jonah posts a follow-up video with his friend, Kira(sp?)—telling everyone he is really popular in his school and everybody likes him. There was a backlash and many viewers felt he had lied in his earlier video. (Apparently, if you’re depressed and have ever been suicidal, you’re supposed to remain that way and never get better. *sigh*)
I’ve seen both videos; the first tore me up inside while watching. I was relieved to see a much happier Jonah in the second video and (unlike many others) wasn’t moved to doubt the sincerity of his earlier message. I simply saw the later video as a response to those who were still attacking him via digital media.
Just because we see or hear conflicting messages from somebody who is young, that doesn’t mean one or both messages aren’t true. Adults do the very same thing; and for the adults reading, if you will recall from your own childhoods, most of us would do or say just about anything to deflect unwanted or seemingly embarrassing attention as we tried to “maneuver through our childhood.”
ABCnews did an article on this kid and while I’m certainly not saying that every news organization is beyond reproach and suspicion (we’ve seen plenty who have done anything for a story), they’re saying his story is true and that he’s undergoing counseling.
Even if the video had not been Jonah’s “real situation” at the time it was uploaded to YouTube (speaking for myself, I’m inclined to think it was) … it IS the situation for many young LGBTQ youth growing up today. And for the record, one doesn’t have to be gay to be bullied—many kids can relate to Jonah in his initial video because they themselves are perceived as being different and they too are bullied by their peers. That too is unacceptable.
It’s not only the person (in this case, Jonah) that matters, but the message as well. I’ve been suicidal myself at different times in my life and each time I managed to pull myself through it. No need to discuss what was driving my own depression; the point is none of us “really knows” what’s going through the mind of another who is that depressed and so-inclined. Some will put on a strong front, their friends and family completely oblivious to the pain that he or she is feeling. Others will allow some of this pain to be seen but later laugh it off in an attempt to avoid the never-ending, pressing questions and comments that (to him or her) are perceived more so as “judgment” than as being helpful.
For those in countries where the [original] video cannot be accessed due to music infringements (copyright violations), I’ve copied and recreated it without the audio and uploaded it to my own channel here. One thing that I cannot promise is whether or not YouTube will allow it to remain online since it is not my own original work—so if the link does not work for you, it’s likely because YouTube has disabled it. As of the time I posted this, it was working.