Many of people know about the new series that Netflix came out with a couple weeks ago, 13 Reasons Why. This show addresses heavy topics such as rape, bullying at schools, severe depression, and suicide when seventeen year old Hannah Baker leaves behind 13 tapes telling the story of her life and why she ended it to the people that caused her to end her life. Coming from someone who does not have severe depression but know people who lived similarly to Hannah, I had a lot of emotions and thoughts after I watched the show.
Now, I want to address that this show does show in a very graphic way content that people could find triggering and may cause people to relive their own traumatic experiences. If you fall under this category there are multiple warnings in the beginning of the episodes that show these graphic scenes so watch with caution.
I also wanted to address that Netflix gives you the freedom to fast forward through scenes that may make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. They let you pause the show and give you a safe way out if you need to take a breath and walk away from the show as long as you need. That is a lot better than making this show into a movie where you are sitting at a movie theater not able to fast forward or leave. So before I talk about certain topics please know that I care about my readers’ safety and you are not alone. There are resources out there that can help you. YOU MATTER.
I watched this show without reading Jay Asher’s novel, 13 Reasons Why, that the show is based off of. So I went in this with fresh eyes so to speak. I watched the first two episodes with my two roommates and then watched the rest on my own. I then had to be an episode ahead of them because I was able to give them warning ahead of time of scenes that could trigger them in anyway since they lived through similar experiences. One episode a head turned into me finishing the whole series in a couple of days.
There is a lot of people saying that this show “glorifies suicide” or “glorifies depression.” I highly disagree. I feel as though the show does a wonderful job showing the horrors that is suicide and rape. After watching those scenes I felt like I wanted to throw up. I felt numb and my mind screamed at Hannah to not do it. I felt horrified during the graphic scenes that addressed rape and suicide. That was the point. People are supposed to feel horrified and bad because suicide and rape are horrible and horrific things to happen. It isn’t a happy event to view. That is not “glorifying” it in anyway. It is showing the gruesome reality that is rape and suicide.
This show has people talking about these heavy topics. It is adding to the conversation. It made me aware of how much someone’s words could cause a snowball effect on someone’s life. Especially, now that we are a generation that is always on our phones or on social media, we have to keep in mind about what we say to others.
The show also talks about issues such as slut shaming and bullying. The fact that Hannah had this false reputation of being “a slut” reminded me about somethings that happened at my high school. It is interesting watching this show while in college because I was making connections to what happened in my high school. Girls can be as mean as boys. High school is a time where everyone is going through puberty and everything feels like it is the end of the world. However, life does get better.
After I finished the show, I found myself connecting a lot with Clay Jensen because I am a person whose loved one has severe depression. I understand how it feels to want to “save” them because you love them so much. However, Clay couldn’t “save” Hannah because Hannah had to “save” herself. No one can “save” anyone.
Depression was Hannah’s battle to face. All Clay could have done was support her and let her know that she is not alone in this battle. Clay could not make her go to counseling. Clay could not make Hannah talk to someone. She had to help herself. However, the show does teach people is to speak up if someone they know might be in danger to themselves or others.
I know from dating someone with severe depression that no matter how much I wanted to take my boyfriend’s pain away, to make him get help, I could not. All I can do to help is support him. I had to figure out when to give him space and when to stay and give him a hug, letting him know it will all be okay. Watching that scene where Clay was listening to his tape made me see the battle that I had to face with my boyfriend. It is hard to see the person that I loved so much break down. I got the “leave me alone” and “get the fuck out” a lot. I was Clay not knowing if leaving will do more harm than good. It is heartbreaking.
What I learned through trial and error was that before you give your loved one battling depression space make sure they know you care about them and support them. Tell them, “I will respect your wishes but please know I am in your corner and I am always here for you when you need me.” It does wonders. Respect their space, but also make sure they know you care about them. That was something I still have trouble with at age 21 let alone 17 when Clay was with Hannah.
If you are a victim of rape, please know you are not alone. Please know there are resources that can help you heal from this horrible trauma that happened. You are never alone and know that you are supported and loved. You will never be judged or blamed. You are strong. Here is a link that provides all the resources you need to get help.
If you are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts please speak out. Say something. You should never suffer alone. You are never alone. There is a future for you beyond what you are feeling. There is always at least one person in your life that will be greatly impacted if you were not here. Here is a link to find the resources you need to get help.