Have you ever witnessed something so powerful that it literally makes you cry uncontrollably? I’m about eight months late but I just watched the saddest, most captivating series I have ever seen. Thirteen Reasons Why is an original Netflix series, executively produced by Selena Gomez, that premiered back in March 2017. If you haven’t watched it already, I advise you to stop reading this and go watch. Once you are moved to tears you can come back and continue reading. For those of you who have seen the series, I am hoping you feel the same as I do. My heart broke as I watched each episode and by the last episode of the series I was in full blown tears.
Quick overview: The series takes us on a journey of a 10th grade girl named Hannah and the moments leading up to her suicide. Boy drama, petty high school drama, and all the other small things that most people overlook. Hannah started at a new school in a new town all by herself. Desperate to fit in and find friends of her own, many people befriended her for the wrong reasons and hurt her, pushing her closer and closer to the end of her life. These people included other students at her school and even school administration.
Hannah struggled with many of things that young adults deal with every single day. She shares 13 reasons(or people) why she decided to end her own life. It all started with a careless picture. It escalated to rumors that spread rapidly over the entire high school, backstabbing friends, and perverted little boys that she had to see every single day at school.
Back to my thoughts…My heart breaks for Hannah, and every other person that has gone through or is currently going through this tragedy. In this particular situation, Hannah had enough and through a little over a year of the taunting, rumors, and devastating events, she decided to end her own life. It is sad to face the reality of depression and suicide. Mental illness is growing more and more of an issue and little to no light is being shed on instances like this.
We have to learn how to be more mindful of the things we say and do to people. What seems petty to us may be a big deal to someone else. Everyone struggles with these kinds of things. Our lives all come with their own set of hardships and battles. We all cope differently. We all go through these things at different times and learn how we will manage at different paces. We as a society need to be more careful of that. You literally never know what someone could be going through or thinking about. You never know what stage they are in or how close to a bad, regretful decision they are. I met a person a couple years ago who actually really pulled me out of a really bad depression. He would text me every single day two simple words that actually stopped me from making so many bad decisions. “You good?” No one in my life had every asked me this simple questions so often. I asked one day why he always asked me that. Like, why do you care so much, you’ve asked me 3 times today. Nothing has changed. His explanation is exactly the point I’m trying to get across in this blog. You never know what someone is dealing with. By stopping and listening to a person, you can change their entire outlook on a situation they didn’t know how they were going to get through. And all you did was listen.
I try not to use the word hate because it carries so much weight, but I hate to think that someone wasn’t strong enough to block out the negativity around them. I am not in any way excusing the behavior of others, but I hate that there are people in the world who are all alone, unfortunately. Hannah did not have anyone close enough who she could trust and who would believe her and help her. This series did an excellent job of capturing what goes on around us quite too often. There are people who don’t have anyone to share their story with or a person to talk them out of a bad decision.
To anyone reading this, I am your person.
I believe all people have good intentions, but sometimes we can make bad, or careless decisions. These bad decisions may harm others and because there is no way to accurately measure the effects of our decisions before it is too late, we should try to prevent making those decisions altogether. Be mindful of how people will perceive you. Show more empathy.
I just want to touch base on my personal experiences. As I have previously shared with you all, I struggle with depression. My depression stems from self esteem issues caused by others’ perception of me at various stages of my life. All throughout school I was teased and made fun of. I was teased for the dumbest things like wearing glasses, actually liking school, and not having a cell phone. A damn cell phone. Like seriously? Kids teased me for things I literally had no control over, I swear this is probably why I don’t like kids so much. They can be so mean. By the time high school rolled around, it just got worse. I went to an all girls high school so the drama was heightened. Girls would literally sit around at their lunch tables and watch me walk around the room and snicker and stare, and snicker and stare. I never showed them that it bothered me , but I always made a mental note of it. I would sit by myself at lunch and think of all the things I did “wrong” and how I could do better so people would accept me.
I tried to ignore it all but sometimes it would grow so bad that I would feel like breaking down. Like Hannah, I thought it would be easier for everyone if I just wasn’t there anymore. What if I would have let those trivial things take over my mind? What if I made a decision that I couldn’t reverse or fix? What if?
See, the thing about bullying is that people think there is only one form. Bullying is NOT just physical. The most common form of bullying is cyber-bullying. While it is easier to hide your true feelings behind a keyboard, most times the bullying is done by people we see constantly, at work or at school. The bullies aren’t strangers living thousands of miles away from us; they live in our neighborhoods. And all the while, no one has any clue but us and them.
It is important to me that we continue to share stories like these until there are no more suicide stories to share. A few months ago I wrote a memoir called “Never give them your power.” In that blog I talked about how my former boss gave me the advice of never giving the enemy your power by giving them a reaction. Don’t let them see you angry or broken. Make a note of their character, remember who you are, and keep it moving. Do exactly what you feel in your heart because you want to do it. Don’t let others dictate your actions and your mind. You get to decide how you live your life. Do what you want and be confident in yourself. I know it gets hard to ignore the hatred sometimes, but if you fight through it it will only make you stronger.
If you or somebody you know is thinking about suicide, please talk to someone. If you don’t have a friend or counselor or parent to listen, please reach out to me. My contact information can be found on the Contact page, or down below. If you see someone having a bad day, stop them and see what’s wrong. Just take the time to listen to them; you never know you could be the one to talk them off the ledge.
National Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Until next time,
*both of these are available 24/7