Before watching the series, I found myself caught up in the online discussions about the show and I already had my mind made up – 13 reasons why was either going to become my new addiction or, it wasn’t.
Despite varying opinions on suicide (and having personally dealt with a suicide in my family), it is an act of pure desperation and incredible loneliness. What people don’t understand is that, no matter how much someone is surrounded by people, family, friends – they still remain lonely and isolated for whatever reason. And the worst part about hindsight – the desperation is visible to the world in plain sight.
As I began watching episode 1 – I found myself wanting more. Also being an empath, means I feel connected to things on a level deeper than experienced by your average viewer. But, a couple of episodes into season 1, I lost interest. As Hannah’s story unfolds, each tape gives a person insight into the the part they played in her life that led to her suicide. Trust, I’m all for letting people know when they’re being the worst versions of themselves – but the way in which their actions are revealed to them post death was desensitized. We see them break down in realization, but does this ultimately change their behavior or change their perceptions on how they will treat others going forward? I think not. Purely because, ‘oh well she’s dead now’. All these kids try to do is make sure that the truth does not come out – so it beckons the question – was Hannah Baker’s suicide in vain?
Anyway – what I found most intriguing was the discussions the series sparked in the digital space. And I mean, both sides of the coin. There is a huge need to be able to speak openly about suicide. To talk about the characteristics of society that lead to isolating people to the point where taking their own life is the only option. To bring up pressures and expectations which affect the growth of any one person. To look further into education systems – the pressure, the standards of recognition forced on adolescents and disciplinary actions taken on kids who step out of line. We need to talk about failing parental units which lead to the upbringing of rebellious children, who themselves have been torn apart and thus have absolutely no positive social skills. We need to look at ourselves – what is it we do on a daily basis, that without knowledge could push someone over the edge?
Could you or anyone you know, be someone’s 13 reasons to take their own life? These discussions need to be as open, honest and free as the updates people post about themselves on their Facebook statuses. Let’s reconsider who we are as a human race – and look into ways in which we can love, support and nurture each other so that suicide is never an option.