This past weekend, a few friends sat me down to watch this year’s annual YouTube Rewind Video, a recap of 2018’s YouTube viral videos, events, trends, and music. The video, released on December 6, quickly became the second most disliked video of all time on YouTube (viewers can “like” or “dislike” a YouTube video by clicking on a thumbs up or thumbs down icon).

I wasn’t crazy about the video either, but I did appreciate one part: Around the halfway point, various YouTubers speak about people who have made genuine contributions to society, including the world of mental health.“To everyone who proved it’s okay to talk about mental health this year,” says one YouTuber ,“and showing their viewers that it’s okay to go through tough times like that… It takes a lot of bravery to be that vulnerable, and I am so proud of this community.”

The rewind video also reminded me of Jaiden Animations—a YouTube channel about a girl named Jaiden who uses her artistic skills to turn her experiences into colorful, humorous stories. A few years ago, I came across some of her videos, and I immediately fell in love with her content. Jaiden’s artistic style was simple and appealing; yet what really drew me in were her great stories.

Jaiden was never afraid to bring up things like her awkwardness or quirks, which gave her stories a genuine, relatable feeling. I especially enjoyed her video about her experiences with flirting. Of course as a YouTube animator, fans constantly asked her to do a “face reveal” video. For most YouTube animators, it’s an inevitable step to continue growing; yet Jaiden seemed adamant against doing one.

It wasn’t until April 2017, however, that Jaiden revealed why she didn’t feel comfortable doing one.In a video titled “Why I Don’t Have a Face Reveal,”Jaiden talked about her poor self-esteem, and how she didn’t feel she was good enough: “I wasn’t good enough, and I had to do better. My standards slowly started getting higher and higher without me realizing how bad it was getting.”

Jaiden soon became concerned with her appearance, leading her to become bulimic.Although she was able to recover, doing so was a long, difficult journey. For years, Jaiden hid her bulimia from her friends and family.

The video is amazing—both for how it depicts eating disorders as well as for the courage it took Jaiden to upload it. Jaiden concludes the video with a brief “selfie”clip of her thanking fans for supporting her. This is what made it so meaningful. She didn’t make the video to seek pity or to get her fans to stop asking for a face reveal; she made it to explain her story, in hopes that it may help others.

In so doing, Jaiden faced her painful past head on. This is what I hope to accomplish with this blog—to show people that they never have to feel alone. In Jaiden’s words: “If you can’t help yourselves, help others. Then eventually you might learn how to help yourself too.”

Until next time,

Salman


©2020 Do No Harm Foundation

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