Oooohhh, so the new season of 13 Reasons Why was released today and I am of two minds about this series. On the one hand, if it encourages someone to talk about depression, anxiety or any mental health issue that they are experiencing then that’s awesome. On the other hand, I feel like it romanticizes suicide and glorifies how shitty people are going to feel in the aftermath. You don’t need to leave tapes behind for people to feel awful after they lose someone to something so tragic. Losing someone to suicide is the most inexplicable pain that a person can experience, the guilt is incredible and you will spend a lifetime wondering if there were signs or if you could have done something or been there more or been there at all. The impact is unimaginable all on its own, a new mindfulness and conversation will begin organically for those left behind and who are seeking answers. I also feel that Hollywood has created this idea of what depression should look like but the reality is that depression looks different on everyone and it isn’t fair to say that someone ‘doesn’t seem or look’ depressed because they aren’t meeting a certain criteria. If you are a young person, which is who this show is targeting, maybe what you are feeling is new but perhaps it isn’t what it looks like on TV and you feel more confused, more alone and less apt to reach out to someone. The suicide rate in the United States is on the rise which, to me, indicates that it isn’t something that we actually know how to prevent or remedy. It is dangerous to present an impressionable mind with these very specific behaviors and say – That is what a person who might be suicidal looks like. It could take years for someone to realize what they are feeling is depression, they could be very high-functioning, they could have just bought a new home, come back from a vacation, run a marathon – you just don’t know.
I have lost exactly one dear friend to suicide and there were no warning signs, nothing cataclysmic had happened to this person, there were no tapes – it just happened. The people left behind feel a lot of things; anger, guilt, shame, confusion, sorrow, and they want answers that they will never get. You say a lot of cliche stuff that you hate yourself for, or at least I did, He seemed fine, I just saw him, Why didn’t he say anything, What a selfish thing to do. You will rehash every moment in your mind, you will over-analyze every minute you had with that person to try and pinpoint the signs that just weren’t there. My shame was two-fold in that I felt like I should have known but also embarrassment for him that he would always be my friend who committed suicide. His short, yet beautiful will be summed up in three very painful words that are still stigmatized in today’s society. His absence is profound and it never ceases to be felt. I will never understand how he didn’t know the impact that he had on so many lives.
I can recognize that this was my personal experience and perhaps the events that played out in the series ring true to others and I respect that. I just feel like this show hyper-focused on the drama and the revenge aspect to the point that the conversation about suicide and mental health took a backseat, like that wasn’t enough. I have a hard time understanding the motivation of the creators when they trivialized something that is so life-altering that people cannot even talk about it and overshadowed it with all of this other drama. Was the motivation to start a conversation about bullying? I completely support that, lets talk about it and recognize that it is a very real problem in our schools. There were a lot of themes that got me thinking and I appreciate that, I just don’t feel like the point of the show was to raise awareness about suicide, I’m sorry, I don’t. I think that there were other ways to go about it and maybe we just don’t know how and this was the result.
If you are going through some shit, just remember that so much in life is temporary and it might take a lot of work, stress, anger and frustration to get through something but it will be worth it. The odds of you even existing are an estimated 1 in 400 trillion, you are literally a miracle and you are not here by mistake. People want to know that you are doing OK, they will want to talk, you aren’t a burden and whatever you are experiencing is important and worthy of recognition. Looking back it is still hard to believe that my friend didn’t feel like he had anyone to reach out to, maybe he felt it was too much to burden someone else with but he could have told me anything and it wouldn’t have mattered, the people who loved him would have been there. Enduring most anything would have been worth it to still have my friend.
This was not at all my intended post for the day, I just saw an email from Netflix about the new season and May is Mental Health Awareness Month so it seemed apropos. Again, maybe I just don’t understand the motivation and perhaps it has been helpful to those in need, I really do hope so.
Thanks for stopping by <3