I went through a deep depression about six months ago and for the first time in my life, I genuinely felt like I wasn't good enough to be alive anymore. It wasn't the feeling of being so upset, you spur of the moment think that you want to die. It was the continuous feeling of loneliness and emptiness. I contemplated for months how to escape this feeling. I have always struggled with depression and anxiety throughout my life and during this time, I was really struggling. Everything bad in my life seemed to happen all at once. On top of that, I was bullied for months by people I thought were my friends. I started to believe that the bad things they were saying about me were true, and my self esteem was on the brink of total destruction. Luckily, I found people to pick me back up, but many aren't so fortunate.
13 Reasons Why is a new Netflix series that came out last week and is based on the novel by Jay Asher. The series follows Hannah Baker, a high school girl, who experiences what every high schooler deals with on top of bullying, rumors, peer pressure, and sexual assault. Hannah is a quirky, outgoing, confident, and most importantly, relatable teen.
Unfortunately, that quirky, outgoing, confident teen quickly transforms into an empty, depressed soul because of constant bullying and pressure from her peers. The consistent torment from her peers ultimately leads to her suicide. Hannah leaves behind thirteen tapes explaining thirteen reasons why she ended her life and the people who contributed to her depression have to listen to them.
While watching the show, I immediately connected with Hannah. She was an average high school girl who fought with friends, tried to keep a good reputation, and tried her best to not let rumors get to her. We have all gone through situations similar to hers. Your teenage years are tough. You're going through many changes at an extremely rapid rate. There's so much pressure from your peers, parents, teachers, and future. Every high schooler is lost and confused and trying to discover themselves. We're all self conscious, uncomfortable, and emotional. Hannah's peers knew she was vulnerable and used it against her.
In our society, bullying and sexual assault happen frequently and it is horrifying that they have become a norm. Many of us have been made fun of or we've made fun of other people. Many of us have heard stories of sexual assault or have been victims of sexual assault. 13 Reasons Why portrays just how normal these two issues really are. The way Hannah's friends, family, and teachers react to claims of bullying and sexual assault shows how society believes that these situations are inevitable and there isn't much to do.
Suicide is another issue that has become a norm in our society. In my hometown, we have had several suicides within the past few years. Why do people believe that they would be better off dead? How do people get to the point of believing life isn't worth living? Through Hannah's perspective, you really get to understand how she went from a confident, goofy person one day to dead a weeks later. Each situation she goes through unravels how her confidence in herself lowered and lowered.
13 Reasons Why also has an important lesson on the bystander effect. Many people knew Hannah was hurting and continued to hurt her anyways. Many people knew she was being bullied and many people knew she needed help, but they didn't do anything. It's important to remember that you are doing just as much harm as the perpetrators if you're doing nothing. Offering one small piece of help can save someone. If one person would've offered anything to Hannah Baker, she still could have been alive.
Most importantly, this show helps you understand that you really don't know what other people are going through. It's easy to be mean to people nowadays, and one small thing can push someone off the edge. We need to understand that everyone has their own problems, and we need to try to be nice to everyone. Like I said above, offering one nice gesture can end up saving their life.
Overall, Hannah Baker was your every day, typical teenage girl who was continually put down and let down. Everything bad in her life happened all at once and she felt that continuous loneliness and emptiness. Unfortunately, no one helped in time. Situations like hers are common, and 13 Reasons Why does an amazing job portraying that. They don't shy away from the uncomfortable, ugly parts, and that's what makes it so raw, real, and emotional.
See for yourself. Pick up the book or watch it on Netflix, and I guarantee 13 Reasons Why will change your life and will save someone's life.