TRIGGER WARNING: If you are triggered by any the following topics: suicide, self-harm and/or bullying, I encourage you to take a break from reading this blog post and reach out to someone you trust to process your feelings and thoughts. If you or someone you know is struggling and/or has been feeling suicidal, do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Representatives from the National Suicide Prevention Hotline are available 24/7. 1-800-273-8255
SPOILER ALERT: The following blog post contains spoilers from the Netflix series.
Netflix released a series called 13 Reasons Why that was based on the book written by Jay Asher. 13 Reasons Why examined Clay Jensen, a high school sophomore, and his journey on uncovering the tapes of Hannah Baker’s suicide.
Jensen isn’t sure why these cassette tapes showed up on HIS doorstep, but he later is surprised to find out that HE has a tape (Tape 5, Side A) and how he (along with many other students) was one of the reasons why Hannah committed suicide.
I am not going to review episode by episode, but I will be completely honest with my opinion about the series as a whole.
I could not watch this series all the way through. It was interesting, yes, but it felt completely drawn out. I’m all for educating the world on the importance of having good mental health and how we need to pay more attention to our youth; however, I felt like the plot should’ve focused more on people overlooking someone who is suffering and not necessarily it being everyone else’s fault that she committed suicide. There are many teens who successfully go through with suicide, and many times, they are using their friends as reasons. I felt like the series encouraged that because they showed everyone feeling bad at the end. The one thing I imagined when thinking about committing suicide as a teenager was that I WANTED people to feel bad, I WANTED certain people to pay for what I felt like they were making me do…but when I thought of the world not stopping because I was gone, it made me angry and realize that the only person who would be paying is ME, because I’d be gone.
The harsh reality is that life does go on, and people don’t feel guilty forever.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I didn’t like that it encouraged teens to use suicide as a revenge tactic. I connected with Hannah Baker on a level that reminded me of how I was as a teenager. I wanted to point the finger, I wanted someone else to pay. My heart was heavy to see Hannah get taken advantage of, and have something taken from her that none of those men deserved…BUT if the director was going to go that route, they should’ve got rid of the “revenge” tone that was set.
I too got angry to see people putting up suicide prevention posters and vigils for Hannah Baker’s death. I believe that point in the movie was just showing how much people want to pretend like they cared so much for her when she was alive. I just wish they would’ve have focused more on HOW to get help and the resources needed. It makes people who are suicidal look like they are looking for [the wrong] attention.
This is just what a teenager needs to go through with their plan, reassurance that it will have a negative effect on the people they feel caused it.
The suicide scene was very hard for me to watch. It wasn’t a trigger for me…but…it just made me think of how desensitized we have become to things like this. There has been a rise of Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Snapchat suicides all over the world where thousands of people were able to watch their loved ones end their life.
I’m the kind of person that gets offended when others say that suicide is selfish and that people who commit suicide are “self-centered.” I feel like it is very clear that those “people” have never been in that position to where they felt like suicide was their only option. That’s good that they have never felt that way and I wish I never thought that way…but the reality is…I have before.
I never really wanted to die, I just wanted the pain to go away.
Parenting With Mental Illness
I heard this statement on Lynne Malcolm’s All in the Mind podcast. Michelle is a mother who lives with bipolar disorder. When I first heard her say that statement, I wrote it down on a post-it note and sat it on the keyboard of my Mac. I thought to myself…”That is exactly what it is, they just want the pain to go away.”
That is how Hannah Baker felt. She wanted the pain to go away and they shouldn’t have made the suicide about friends and/or vengeance if they weren’t going to educate teens on the right way to go about a situation like this. I would’ve had to see the bullying issue be addressed, I would have to see different ways on how to get help if I am feeling suicidal, and I would definitely have to see how to recognize the signs in others around me in order to call this an “educational series for teens.”
What did you think about the series? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
When Your Brain Hurts