In case everyone hasn’t noticed yet, the newest trending Netflix series right now is Thirteen Reasons Why. To sum it up, it is about a young high school girl who commits suicide and sends out tapes to people who she claims had a role in her suicide. Throughout the series, it is evident how her suicide and the tapes significantly impacted the recipients.
Before I go any further, let me clarify that I read this book in my sophomore English class. I really enjoyed it, and I even enjoyed the Netflix series. The storyline is over-the-top, but that’s fine because that’s what drama/reality novels are supposed to do. I like the theme and how it reflects a current issue we battle today — how we treat others and the impact it can have on an individual. On the other hand, I think people have gained a message that is flawed.
I can’t disagree with the moral message — that how people treat others is more impactful than we think.
But this is the only aspect of the entire storyline that people are focusing on. I cannot say how many people I’ve seen on social media glorifying the story because “maybe people will realize what they do to other people” and “people need to see how people set other people over the edge.” All the while, there are people flipping out because they’re scared that these careless mistakes they have made will cause someone to do what Hannah Baker did.
Saying that does not make me insensitive, either. I completely understand the issue of mental illness. Like Hannah Baker, I struggled with moving schools (three times, actually), people treating me like shit, sexual assault, and being misunderstood by everyone around me. I understand that those who suffer put on a mask that completely hides their true feelings. I understand mental health issues can cause someone to misinterpret or over-sensationalize a situation. I, myself, had been a sufferer of mental illness — depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. I'm already a pretty emotional person, and I can tell Hannah was, too. Sometimes, we allow negative emotions consume how we view ourselves and life.
This happens in the story and it happens too often now. We need to be aware of what triggers our emotions and gain the strength to control them. I know mental health issues make it hard. However, it is completely possible.
The day you get fed up with life is the day you change it, not end it.
We have the power to take what life throws at us and construct a perfectly imperfect life. When we start seeing how shitty people and things happening can make us better people instead of weighing us down, then we will start taking steps forward.
No one should be blamed for another person's suicide — people should nothave to sit here and walk on eggshells to avoid pushing a person over the edge. People should not have to drive themselves crazy over careless actions that many people do make. No one should have to live with the blame for someone's death when they didn't know how they felt.
High schoolers especially. Talk about a time of struggling with self-identity. High school sucks. Guess what? High school sucks for everyone whether you believe it or not. That popular girl? She’s struggling with being who she wants to be and who everyone else wants her to be. The "weird" kid? They're struggling with either conforming to be liked or dealing with heat for being "different." No one has it easy.
I’m not saying we should stop watching the series or shun it. People are just focusing on one aspect of the show when there is so much more to it that we are ignoring.
People are forgetting that no one can make a person commit suicide.
I understand mental health issues can make it that more difficult to overcome anything, but ultimately, each of us is responsible for ourselves. People are glorifying Hannah Baker's actions as if it teaches us all how we should act. People completely ignore the fact that someone who struggles like Hannah Baker can only fix themselves.
Help is one thing. However, even counselors or therapists do not hand you a solution and tell you what you should do. Nor do they fix any brokenness or negativity. They ask you thought-provoking questions so you can figure out how to battle whatever you're dealing with. Sure, doctors can prescribe medicine for those who experience more severe mental health issues.
We cannot rely on other people to treat others right and to make us happy. We can all use a helping hand or a boost of encouragement. However, some of us don't get that. In that case, it's about finding the strength to empower yourself with all negative things. No matter what, absolutely no one knows how you feel except yourself. Even if people misjudge you, don't let that get to you. I can't tell you how many times people have called me "stupid" or told me that I would never make it in life. I let them get to me at first... until I realized they're irrelevant.
Of course people are going to tear you down! Of course people will do everything they can to have the one-up you. Life is ever-changing. Don't let one phase of life stop you from going to the next.
Let even the worst of situations shape you to be the best you can be. That is what life is about. No matter the situation, advantages, or disadvantages, everyone has a chance to find meaning in their life. We get lost and lonely, I know. The journey of people tearing you down, misunderstanding you, or showing little concern should make you stronger to where you want to give them the biggest "f*** you" possible — and that's beating mental health issues and exceeding both yours and others' expectations.
High school kids are mean because everyone is battling with themselves — including Hannah Baker. Kids say and do stupid shit all of the time. They hurt others and don't even realize it. There are people who still treat me like I am nothing while their negativity is slowly dragging them down every day. It's your choice to join them or go beyond them.
Some people see situations differently. Some people are raised completely different from you. Some people need time to understand their mistakes. Some people are just shitty people.
Does anything that anyone does truly worth your life? No.
I understand Jessica Davis slapped Hannah and got bitchy with her. However, Jessica saw the situation differently than Hannah and acted on impulse. She listened to others first. I know Jessica made a mistake, but it was so careless and immature. So many people make similar mistakes — miscommunication and misconstrued information. That does happen, welcome to life. No one said life was peaches and cream. Life literally is what you make it despite the good or bad.
Aside from about three to four tapes, most of those tapes were careless actions. Those were things that could've been settled — if not that, then at least pushed aside. She keeps stating "you think I'm just some baby" or "getting my titties twisted," but it really is because those situations were completely misconstrued.
What did Hannah do? She bottled it up. And that's exactly what she did in most of the tapes. No one was out to get Hannah Baker — as people referred to her as considerably popular. Yes, kids at her high school were shitty to her. But they were shitty to everyone. Like I said, people are just shitty. All ending it does is put the shitty people ahead and the victim of your own downfall. No justice is served, especially when you're not there to see the karma come back around.
It is completely delusional to think that everyone is going to treat us how we want to — no matter how confrontational or defensive we get. A lot of people suck, but a lot of people are also good. It's your choice who you let into your life and affect how you think. If you know yourself, don't let others define you. Keep reminding yourself of this.
We need to be promoting a message to come forward for help. That is what strong people do.
Strong people care for their well being and will do what it takes to make it better. Mental health is like physical health — you don't miraculously become healthy, you condition yourself. If you know you aren't strong, then you go to the gym, right? Same applies here. It's hard but possible.
When someone buys you McDonald's, is it their fault for you adding the extra empty calories to your diet? We can think "if it weren't for them tempting me," but ultimately you are the one who chose to consume it. The same thing applies to how people treat you and the impact it has on your mind.
Forget feeling like a burden. Speak up and you will get the help you need. Find your own coping methods and what good outlets for you are. Get help figuring those out if you need to. People shouldn't be focusing on how others make people want to commit suicide. We are avoiding all personal accountability and what we can do for ourselves to fix the issues.
We should be glorifying the solutions — finding healthy outlets to help a person better understand everything and themselves. It isn't about what "others do." Though discussing that aspect helps, it is not the only part of this. I like Thirteen Reasons Why in some aspects, but I am not about to let this go unnoticed. People are misled. Stop blaming others and start striving for what you want out of life.
If you feel alone, there's help out there. Find a counselor and talk to them. It helped me, and it's worth it.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255