15-Year-Old Jamie Hubley Commited Suicide. But Was It Bullying Or Depression?

Before 15-year-old Jamie Hubley killed himself on Friday, he spent three months chronicling his pain on Tumblr with “angst-filled quotes and startling images of self-harm.”

But even though Hubley hated being the only openly gay kid at his high school—and felt sad about being called a “fag,”—the Ottowa teen’s suicide seems to have been prompted primarily by a chronic depression rather than bullying at school.

Hubley’s Tumblr blog, “You can’t break… when you’re already broken,” had some pictures of hairless, muscular guys kissing and the occasional landscape photo. But mostly it consisted off animated GIFs of sad cartoon animals, pictures of people who have cut themselves with razors, and a mix of quotes and personal admissions about his increasing despair.

Clicking through his entries is like a morbid digital countdown. A small sampling of his comments and quotes posted over the last three months:

When I went for my appointment…
Therapist: Have you cut?
Me: No, Its been six weeks…
(But in reality, I cut last night.)

You’re the one who broke my heart, you’re the reason my world fell apart, you’re the one who made me cry, yet I’m still in love with you and I don’t know why.

If you could read my mind you’d be in tears.

I don’t know if I’m getting better or just used to the pain.

Reblog if you’re so sad and want to die but really just want someone to love you.

Theres a lady running for president in the USA, and if she makes it in shes banning same sex marriage D: Fuck the U.S. D: Someone assassinate her please? I thought love was a Human right?

Love is the slowest form of suicide.

New package of razors. Brb. Cutting.

What if it never gets better?

So many hate messages on facebook and tumblr right now.
Fuck off. Like, now 🙂

Had an amazing time at pride…
But now im just in a shitty mood, Not even gay guys are attracted to me… I Am ugly as fuck, Im sad .—.
SO fucking upset.
GOing to go cry
I need to get drunk
I want a guy to actually fucking love me back

To be Honest…
..I dont think Il be around much longer.

Going for stitches. K.sick.

It’s been one day of school and I’ve already had enough.Whenever I appear happy it’s because I’ve temporarily gone insane.

“How was your day?”
I wanted to kill myself every fucking minute of it.

I think I hit a nerve while cutting .-.
When I touch it , I feel like im being electrocuted on my thumb ,-,

In your world, The thought of wanting to die is crazy. In my world, You’re the crazy one who wants to live.

Hubley’s depression is evident through his increasingly desperate posts: They paint the image of a young teen with few friends and a painful desire for a loving boyfriend.

NEXT: What caused Hubley’s pain?

Jamey's suicide note, posted on his Tumblr site. (click for larger image)

Hubley loved acting, dancing and singing. He tried out for his school’s talent competition by signing Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” and he acted in a few plays.

He also loved Glee and hated that his experience being a gay high-schooler didn’t even remotely resemble the show’s depictions of out characters like Blaine and Kurt.

On his YouTube channel, Hubley enjoyed singing songs by Katy Perry and Jason Mraz, and Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way.” He had a beautiful voice, shaky and untrained but earnest and touching nonetheless. He uploaded sixteen videos in all, most of them posted seven months ago. In most, he stands alone, wistfully looking into the camera, singing into the vast silent expanse of the Internet.

Like Jamey Rodemeyer’s You Tube videos, most of Hubley’s clips were short on comments before his death. Now strangers have gradually started to express sorrow with the familiar refrain that he had so much to live for.

But away from the camera, Hubley regularly cut himself with straight razors and drank vodka to dull the pain. Two months before his suicide, he was hospitalized for depression and put on medication, which didn’t seem to abate his pain much:

My summer fucking sucked. I did not see my friends that much. I am getting a Fucking eating disorder now, I was inpatiented to a hospital on suicide watch and Major depressive disorder for 2 fucking weeks. Now Im going to a rehab for alcohol abuse, Im seeing 2 Councillors for my depression, Then started my 4th new medication for depression…None of them seem to be fucking working. I am at the point where I dont even want to leave my house because of how Ugly I am. To be honest, Iv never felt so hopeless before, School is going to start and im probably going to have another fucking breakdown.
Fuck bullys
Fuck life
Fuck looks

Then, on Friday, he posted his goodbye to the world shown above.

The post has been re-blogged by an increasing number of people, each followed notes of condolence and sorrow.

NEXT: Could anyone have saved him?

Hubley’s death continues a wave of LGBT teen suicides that have slowly shifted focus from at-school bullying to non-stop cyberbullying and teen depression. But in this instance, at least from his online statements, it seems like Hubley’s suicide was prompted by a clinical depression and feelings of alienation and loneliness, not real-world torment at the hands of bullies.

As our personal life moves more into the digital realm, Hubley’s death reveals several challenges for the LGBT community:

  • How could readers of Hubley’s  posts have helped him rather than just re-posting his suicidal thoughts?
  • How can we actively seek out troubled teens who are crying out for help?
  • How do we help when the issue isn’t bullying but more nebulous causes like depression, anxiety and alienation?

Right now, it’s also unclear what role that Hubley’s parents played. While they seem to have cared for him enough to seek professional psychiatric treatment, it’s unclear if they knew about his Tumblr account. We’d like to think that if everyone knew exactly what was going on and someone had acted earlier, we might have saved a life.

Hubley’s friend Steph Wheeler had tried talked him out of committing suicide several times. She told the Ottowa Citizen, “I just remember him wanting a boyfriend so bad, he’d always ask me to find a boy for him. I think he wanted someone to love him for who he was… Even though he was feeling down all the time, he always made everybody else feel better.”

After learning of her friend’s death, Wheeler ordered 1,000 rainbow-colored bracelets with “acceptance” written on the outside and “Rest in peace Jamie Hubley” on the inside. She plans to sell them at local high schools to raise money for Jer’s Vision, an anti-bullying and anti-homophobia group that Jamie liked.

Jer’s Vision has posted the above image on a tribute page dedicated to Hubly. May he rest in peace.