Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Reasons - Review of Netflix Original 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why

When I heard about this show, part of me wanted to avoid it all together, to ignore it. The other part of me was curious. As I suicide survivor, I needed to know if Netflix had gotten it right. I wondered if the story would actually resonate with someone that had been at that point of desperation.

They did.




***SPOILERS***TRIGGER WARNING***

Stop reading this if you don't want to know specific details about the show.
Stop reading this if you don't want to know my reasons for attempting suicide in the past.


***SPOILERS***TRIGGER WARNING***


The first episode was interrupted when my kids HAD to have the living room TV to play video games. I moved to my room and decided that maybe I wasn't in the right headspace to start watching a show detailing the reasons that the main character ended her life. If you read my last post, you would know that my own mental health has been hard to handle. You would know that my medications had not been refilled on time or correctly, and I was suffering. 

What you don't know is that the next two shows I watched had suicide in the plot lines. These were prime time shows I watched on Hulu. It seemed that the universe was not going to let me get away from this theme. The next night I started watching 13 Reason Why. First, the show is amazing. I can see myself being part of this high school group. They could have added me as another character...


I remember moving between cliques in school. I started freshman year at 5 foot 3 inches tall and 180 lbs. I joined choir, drama, student council, and the speech team, I kept busy and I barely ate. By sophomore year I was 5 foot 7 inches tall and dropped down to 130 lbs. I had my first boyfriend, helped others cheat in class, got paid for doing homework, and ditched classes. The summer before junior year I lost my virginity. That fall I got knocked up and had an abortion. In June 1994 I left home. I dropped out of school before 1st quarter of my senior year ended. 

The next few episodes held my attention but they didn't seem to be enough to bring Hannah Baker to suicide. At least, it wouldn't have been enough for me. (My first attempt wasn't until 22.) Then I got to episode 11. It was "Tape 6, Side A" when Hannah talked about Clay Jensen.

These emotions and feelings were something I felt as a teen and into my 20s. However it took my years  to really understand. I never thought I was good enough. Sometimes I still don't think I am; but I can fake it. The lines she said on Clay's tape are words I have said more than once. 


Leave me alone. Leave me alone, Clay. You should go. Part of me was saying, Please don't leave. Part of me never wanted to see you again. I don't want you here. Get the fuck out! But you walked out the door like I told you to. Why did you have to leave? It was the worst thing ever. {...} I didn't deserve to be with someone like you. No, I never would. I would have ruined you. It wasn't you. It was me and everything that has happened to me.



All I ever wanted was someone to love me despite my truth, despite my flaws and my faults. I wanted to be left alone, but I didn't want to be alone. I needed to hear words like Clay wished he could have told her. The words she needed to hear when she was still alive.



I was an asshole, and I'm sorry. And I can never make it right. {...} I love you. I couldn't tell her. I couldn't hold her. I killed Hannah Baker. {...} How am I supposed to live with that? 




Now, after 7 suicide attempts there must be some reason I am alive. Was it because I failed? Was it because I was weak and couldn't really do it? Or was it that I was strong? Were my attempts the cries of help that got me a diagnosis and medication? Some days I am not sure. 

What I do know is that suicide is not selfish to the person that attempts or succeeds. To them, it is the more selfless decision and solution they can offer. It ends their pain and suffering. It ends the emotional drain they feel they put on friends and family. It ends the medication, the drinking, or the use of drugs. 

I still have two episodes left to watch before I finish 13 Reasons Why. I had to stop and write. I needed to get these words down as they poured out of my head and my heart. This is my way to cope. I hope you can understand. (I will follow up with a recap after I finish the show. I also want to buy the book by Jay Asher.)

Sadly in 2016, my ex-husband died by suicide. This year, my friend's husband ended his life. Our community also had 4 other suicides during February 2017. Even the founder of the #semicolonproject lost her battle with depression and died in March.




I'm better now. I was able to get my medications straightened out and I am back to my version of "normal". It will still take some time to push away the anxiety, but until then I have Xanax. Suicide will never again be a solution to my pain. I have learned how to get past my depression, the anxiety, and the cycles of bipolar with years of therapy.