There is no doubt about it! There has been so much hype and controversy over the show "13 Reasons Why" that is on Netflix, and there have been a lot of opinions that are coming along with it! Some people have believed that the show is the absolute best, while others have criticized its educational value on addressing the mental illness directly. Was it an entertaining show to watch? Yes.
Did it make it exciting to know that Selena Gomez, big star, produced the show? Yes. Did the show tackle the mental illness directly and thoroughly? Yes and No. I have been a Hannah Baker, and I do not think that "13 Reasons Why" was able to appropriately address the core issues of depressed and suicidal individuals, but at the same time it very well could relate to other people who have experienced this at a surface level.
First things first, Kyle's Tape.
If you have seen the show "13 Reasons Why", you were likely stunned at the reason why Hannah put Kyle on her tapes, even though he seemed like the perfect guy who just wanted a chance to show Hannah that not all guys are the same. I want to clarify something though; his timing? Could not have been more off! And this is what I think the show fails to go into detail with. The entire time on his tape, it talks about how he was too afraid to admit he had a thing for her, and he was an asshole because his friends were too, etc...
However, none of that makes any sense because the show did not give enough detail into Hannah's mind. If we were able to truly see what she was thinking in each moment, and understand the mindset of someone who was depressed, it would be a lot easier as the viewer to pick apart and understand why it was that Kyle was on those tapes. Having been in Hannah's position, I can say that a part of me really does think that Hannah was being a little baby about Kyle and that he should not have been on those tapes. But, the part of me that connects with her on a personal level tells me that having pent up anger and sadness really can make the smallest of problems seem so large.
That being said, there are critics that say that Hannah should have reached out and gotten help when she realized that she was feeling sad or mad or whatever was going through her head (again, we would not know because there was no detail into her illness). I do agree with those critics almost whole-heartedly. The reason I say almost is that I was one of the people who did go reach out and find help. It may have been really late in the game when I did, but what matters is that I eventually did.
I know the feeling of not wanting to tell anyone what is happening in my life and being afraid of the judgment or the criticism that comes with turning to someone and telling them that you are having these kinds of thoughts. No matter how many times people will tell you that there are people out there who won't judge you, your parents, for example, or maybe a good friends, or a counselor; it's all false. When you tell someone something as personal as what Hannah was feeling, there is no way that the person will not begin to look at you differently. There are these sad puppy dog eyes that the person will give you and until a point that can be so embarrassing and demeaning...
But at a certain point as well, the person who is feeling these feelings has to be able to make their own call to get help. They should want help. They can't heal if they don't want to be healed. On a surface level watching the show, Hannah seemed to not want to help herself and expected others to just 'sense' that she was upset. Maybe this wasn't entirely the case, but honestly there is no way to tell because there was no other detail given.
This brings me to Clay's tape.
The infamous tape that drove everyone over the edge with the seemingly stupid accusation of Clay being too perfect and too good to her for her own good. We all remember it. The suspense throughout the show that made every viewer wonder what it was that Clay could have possibly done wrong to her. Let me just say one thing -- I agree with the masses here.
I do not think that Hannah had any right to put Clay through that kind of torture. No sane person would ever put someone that they claim to love through that kind of trauma, stress, and pain. This is where I think that the show is all wrong and ruined the way that people may view depression. People with depression don't sit around blaming the people that they love for it (unless, of course, there are some actual reasons, such as abuse or neglect). We don't claim to love people only to drag them down.
We don't make our problem everyone else's problem. That is where depression gets dangerous. It's because we generally don't go seeking help and we don't make it known to other people. This bottles it up until we break and often by that time it is too late. Let's talk the almost sex scene in the show. The one where Hannah and Clay were making out on the bed, and Hannah suddenly broke down, because her mind would not stop spinning about all the pain that she had to deal with.
She had screamed at Clay to get out even though she wanted him to stay. I know that many people think that if she wanted him to stay then she should have just told him to stay, and I totally understand that because after having been in her shoes in a situation like this as well, I do not think that I would have been able to ask him to stay either, no matter how much I may have wanted him to. I am now a firm believer in saying whatever the hell is on your mind, but when I was in my own personal state similar to Hannah's, I did not want to ask people to stay, because I though that those who knew me would be able to see that something is wrong.
And that is what is naïve. Not that Clay left and was not able to read her mind, but that she was thinking that he could read her mind. Again, in that moment, the mind really is unpredictable. I understand that people think she should have just said something, but it really is not that simple and the show really does a terrible job at portraying the complexity of the situations that Hannah would often find herself in. It really isn't just black and white. It's all the colors in between.
I was once a Hannah Baker and I survived.
I am a fan of the show "13 Reasons Why", but there are many reasons why I am also a huge critic. Here's to hoping that season two is able to focus more on the mental illness side of her story.