Suicidal prevention awareness month thoughts and review of 13 Reasons Why

Obvious trigger warnings*

I was awake all night due to ongoing symptoms of the grand mal seizure and its after affects. I watched all 13 episodes of 13 Reasons Why. My daughter told me it was not anything like the book. I have read reviews that said the series “glamorized” suicide and that it was far too triggering to watch. I have read reviews that it was targeted to teens who were vulnerable to suicide and many boycottted the series all together because they felt the show took the scenes of rape and suicide too far. 

I find it interesting that individuals will watch horror movies like Saw where people torture each other, or zombie movies where the gore is profound, but watching a rape scene is off limits. It seems ok to watch the Law and Order Special victims unit on tv but not a series whose intent seemed to be to educate. 

The series was very hard to watch. No one wants to watch someone attempt suicide or to be raped. This series was very real life. I felt its sole purpose was to show where everyone went wrong in saving a life. I felt it summed up exactly why individuals commit or attempt suicide in a very deep and profound and real way. It is a difficult but very real topic. 

I felt exaclty how many of the characters in the show felt. I have felt that there is no escape from the pain. I felt hopelessness. I felt that nomatter how hard I try I keep getting hurt. I have felt unheard, invalidated, and abandoned. I felt the exact same feelings the girl in the series felt when she killed herself and those were the reasons I attempted suicide as a teenager. I have felt similar feelings of wanting to not be alive anymore in the last few months. I have struggled with self harm and suicidal thoughts that have waxed and waned. I have been very open with my therapist and my psychiatrist about these thoughts. I had no plan to kill myself. I simply feel overwhelmed, hopeless, and as if I do not have the coping skills I need to handle the challenges I am facing. The accumulated stress and the amount of medications my doctors were trying me on to help to stabilize me all contributed to the grand mal seizure, along with a trigger of PTSD. So yes, I watched the series and felt like they hit the nail on the head with absolute accuracy of why someone wants to end their life and what circumstances can push a person to end their life. I could relate to the victims.

The rape scene I watched. It was the most real rape scene I have ever watched and the actress portrayed how it felt and the after affects very accurately. That person easily could have been me. Yes it would be hard for anyone to watch but unless you have seen it you may not know what a girl who has been raped feels like. If you have been raped it will be very triggering. If you know someone who has been raped it will show you the sheer terror of how it feels to be raped. 

The suicide scene was brief and I don’t know how it could have been filmed any differently. It shouldn’t be easy to watch something like that. People can watch brains being eaten and they are numb to it in horror shows but they cannot watch something so real because it is a reminder that this happens. I understand why it can’t be watched by many whole heartedly. I also believe it can educate many on the depths of depression, on the depths of suffering and hopelessness. I also believe the show can teach adults how to stop being robots and plug in to their kids, listen to their kids, watch for signs with their kids, and act on it.  The show focuses on why there needs to be a change in how we handle rape, ptsd, suffering, etc. 

The actor who loved the girl who commited suicide said he believed she could have been loved enough and held enough to have been saved. I believe that 100%. Throughout the series he was a stark contrast to the others who were stuck in their lies, secrets, bully roles, and coverups. He reacted with rage at the knowledge of every bad thing that happened that pushed the main character to end her life. He reacted appropriately. There should be rage over rape. There should be rage over bullying. There should be rage over accountability. But there is not. Even in this suicide prevention awareness month I have not seen a truly honest thing writtten yet. The series talked about that too. Putting up a sign is not going to stop suicide. It’s going to take more than that.  This series is about showing the world that unless things change, reactions change, and rape stops being a secret to cover up, then this will be a probable outcome. The show is not just about rape. It is about bullying, secrets, lies, and the power of all of those things combined. A person can only be pushed so far, take so much, and not be heard and then the outcome may possibly be a suicide. Not always, but there is that possibility. Which is why there needs to be awareness. Which is why that starts with honestl.  With everyone walking around with blinders on I am not surprised at the number of suicides. Not at all. There are many opinions on the person who has commited or attempted suicide that they are selfish. I have heard this everywhere. We are looking at the wrong thing. It is not about if they are or are not selfish. It is about saving a life that could be saved. I believe all lives can be saved. I do. I know how it feels to ask for help, seek help, reach out for help, try medications, and come home feeling like there is no way out. I know how it feels to be hopeless. I also know how it feels to be loved and how that love can transform hopelessness. 

Those are my thoughts on the subject. My blog is about real feelings and real emotions and absolute truth. I felt the series captured the truth in many stages of my life and I could have easily myself written 13 reasons why I attempted suicide as a teenager but mine would have been more like 100 reasons why. To prevent suicide and bring awareness, there has to be honesty as to how that person got to where they are and why. As I was watching the series I wrote 25 reasons why I liked how the series was made:
1. Accurate depiction of rape

2. Accurate depiction of ptsd

3. Accurate depiction of the harm in secrets

4. Accurate depiction of those capable of cover ups

5. Accurate depiction of how a secret can tear you up

6. Accurate depiction of how bullies can affect an individual

7. Accurate depiction of how a person choosing to do nothing can affect everything

8. Accurate depiction of how many people stand on the wrong side and don’t stand for the victim

9. Accurate depiction of suffering 

10. Accurate depiction of the after affects of rape and trauma

11. Appropriate rage at the discovery a rape happened and accurate depiction of those who will fight with everything they have to deny it.

12. Accurate depiction of the power of keeping secrets and how those secrets destroy lives

13. Accurate depiction of how the signs of a depressed individual are missed/ignored/ not acted upon

14. Accurate depiction of being conflicted on telling the truth and how hard others make it for that to happen.

15. Accurate depiction of a low income teen living in a domestic abuse household being overlooked and the consequences of that. 

16. Accurate depiction of accountability or lack there of. 

17. Accurate depiction of suicidal thoughts and how they get there and how life circumstances accumulate to create those suicidal thoughts. 

18. Accurate depiction of a predator 

19. Accurate depiction of how it feels to have your parent care more about their life than your suffering. 

20. Accurate depiction of the consequences of rape. 

21. Accurate depiction of the way it feels to be raped and the actions an individual may do after being raped. 

22. Accurate depiction of pain

23. Accurate depiction of how it feels to be a victim being a victim. Oh maybe I already said that but it cannot be said enough.

24. Accurate depiction of how you think revealing the truth will set you free but after a repeated offenders, repeated bullying, and feeling abandoned, it does not always set you free but it just makes it all so real how badly the secrets and lies have destroyed you. So by the time you reveal the truth, you feel beyond repair. 

25. Accurate depiction of how devastating it can be to try to get help one last time but to be shrugged off as if you don’t matter. 

26. Accurate depiction of why things need to change for victims.

27. Accurate depiction of how powerful and life changing the truth can be

You may have a completely different opinion on the topic than I do and that is ok. I just wanted to share my own thoughts on this very hard subject in as honest and real format as I could. 

My psychiatrist asked me a few weeks ago if I thought I needed to be inpatient. I said no. I had not come up with a “plan” to end my life I simply hated being alive. I was very honest about the crisis I felt I was in and my inability to cope with the stressors that were before me.  Why be inpatient? For me,  I cannot take antidepressants because they all have made me worse or sick. It would make things worse as it would take away the little control I have left in my life. I have been inpatient before and it did not stop further suicide attempts because I always went right back to the same complications that I did not know how to cope with. My therapist simply said my life was hard. My situation and circumstances were hard. They are. I have a very ill daughter. I am very ill with a myriad of symptoms, diagnosises, and diseases. I have severe PTSD and do not handle stress or anxiety well at this time hence my grand mal seizure. I mean, what does it take to see that I am screaming for help? My therapist saw I was screaming for help. She watched me sob uncontrollably at the lack of control I had over my life and the suffering I was feeling. It took a person in the waiting room to hug me tomake me feel like there was hope.  My psychiatrist is trying to hook me up with a new therapist. She also wants me to reach out to others for help. She doesn’t understand that fundamentals of that. I am a person who cologne triggers a seizure. I have smell triggers. I have found only a few recently that I can trust will take that seriously. So, no, I don’t need to be put in a mental hosptial but for real life people to see the suffering I am going through and the strain that has put on me and show kindness.  How hard is it to show compassion, love, and understanding? It seems very for many. It leaves those of us in the depths of depression very alone, very isolated, and very hopeless. So it is up to us in most cases to advocate for ourselves. Medications are not and have not helped me. Therapy has not helped me. I am still right where I was one year ago in fact I would say I am worse. I am aware. I know what I need. So I am seeking it out. I am actively looking for a new therapist who will help me cope with a life that I absolutely cannot change or control or manage on my own. There is nothing I can do about my circumstances and what brought me to this point. I can only look for someone to help me cope with it and move forward.

I watched 13 reasons why becasue I wanted to know if anyone could ever truly know how I felt. How it feels to be raped. How it feels to feel trapped. How it feels to want the suffering to end. How it feels to want to be saved and want people to listen and care. This show made me feel understood. It did not make me feel suicidal. It made me angry at the 13 reasons why she felt suicidal and the 100’s of reasons why I have felt that way. It made me angry at those who could have chosen differently and save me instead of burying me. But I cannot focus on them and to live you cannot focus on what they didn’t do. You have to focus on what you can do. 

I don’t want to commit suicide. I want to find a way to live in this life that I have been given with this hand I have been dealt. I need a good therapist that can help me navigate. I need the love and understanding of those around me with unconditional compassion as I try my best to just find my way back to myself. After the seizure I felt like the world stopped and everyone kept on moving. It is how I felt after I attempted suicide as a kid and came home and nothing stopped. It is how I felt each of the hundreds of times I was molested as a child. Like my world had stopped but no one noticed. Sometimes, you have to stop. Others have to stop maybe just briefly so that the one suffering knows they are worth a moment. My husband stopped. My daughter stopped. They have been showering me with vigilant “how are you” questions and “is there anything you need” questions for the last few days. It’s not very hard to make a person feel like they matter. It is not very hard to make a person who is suffering feel loved. I think that was the point of the series. Had just one of the 13 made her feel like she mattered and was worthy of being loved, she would still be alive. 

So my thoughts on this month deemed suicide prevention awareness have been spoken. I could close the comment section so as not to receive any negative feedback on my feelings as negativity right now would only add to my stress. But I would then stop the ability of those to share their stories and their truth and I will not do that. To prevent we must have truth. So please speak your truth whatever it may be and you will be heard. 

23 thoughts on “Suicidal prevention awareness month thoughts and review of 13 Reasons Why

  1. Reblogged this on NANMYKEL.COM and commented:
    Do you realize what a truly great writer you are? You accomplish a lot with your blog but I can’t help wondering what would be possible with a larger audience, say a book audience. Your words ring true, because they re true. Thank you for caring about others.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I started watching this series not realy knowing what it was about, other than that it was about a teenage suicide – this was before all the controversy really hit the news and social media. I had to stop at about episode six once I realised where it was going, the progression toward her rape was just too triggering. I might be in a better place to watch it now.

    I completely agree with your take on it. It annoyed me a lot that many of the criticisms of the series focussed on ‘suicide is not the inevitable outcome of rape or bullying’, and ‘you should have hope and just keep asking for help’ and ‘it’s wrong to lay so much blame on other people, she is the one that made that choice’, because although actually committing suicide isn’t the best solution, all of that despair and hopelessness and seeing it as a way out really are there and you can’t just magically make those feelings go away, and seriously, if you rape someone and then they commit suicide you should feel f***ing guilty about that.

    The single biggest thing that makes a difference after interpersonal trauma is having people on your side. Not just asking if you’re ok or listening (although those do help), but actually standing up and being seen to be on your side, in public. Not being a bystander.

    PS I wish you good luck in finding the right therapist. It’s hard but worth it.

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    • I agree with every single thing you said.
      I don’t know if anyone who has been through rape should ever watch that scene. It is an awful scene and is very triggering. Because it was so real. But what they depicted really does show the trauma that so many do not understand.
      Totally agree with standing up for someone publicly. It is so important and so rare.

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  3. I completely concur with everything you’ve said here. When this series became available here in NZ, I watched it, like you did … back to back. I hadn’t read any reviews and there wasn’t a lot of conversation happening here on the whole thing.
    After I’d watched it, I went looking for the reviews and commentary on it, because, surely I thought, this has got to be a go-to movie for suicide, rape, teens, life etc etc. And I was gob-smacked at the negativity that it had received. Like yourself, I wondered … ‘but people watch horrors no sweat … glamorised rape scenes no sweat … whats with the negativity?’.
    I personally ‘loved’ it, so to speak. And personally, I think the world needs to wake up and smell the coffee brewing! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a profound takeaway: “I don’t want to commit suicide. I want to find a way to live in this life that I have been given with this hand I have been dealt. I need a good therapist that can help me navigate. I need the love and understanding of those around me with unconditional compassion as I try my best to just find my way back to myself.” We want to find a way to live. That’s exactly it Bethany. I cannot bring myself to watch the show but you’ve again managed to capture the heart of all survivors; we seek understanding and a way to live safely in our reality. I’m sorry to hear you had a seizure. I hope you find the compassion and resources you need to continue to choose life and to live that life in peace, joy and love. So much strength in your words and your truth. Thank you for sharing your courage.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t seen this show, but I guess the negative feedback comes from people who have never known hopelessness. My sister would say those people haven’t suffered. Suicide a selfish act? No, you are just so sick and tired of pain and see no end to it. Like I said to a doctor, “I didn’t want to kill myself, I just wanted to sleep.” “For how long,” he asked. I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “Forever.” I just wanted rest from my overwhelming, sad feelings.

    I understand about hating life. I think about you often. I think about your daughter and how hard it is on you to see her suffer – worse than your own pain. That you are struggling to remain positive for her is courageous, in my view.

    I’m reading a book called, “Redemption,” by Stacey Lannert. Why? Because her father raped and abused her for years and I wanted to see if I could understand why a man would do that. Why my father did that. Also, I wanted to read of how she overcame all she went through.

    I’m half-way thru it. Her father loved her. She adored him. Life was good until he began drinking. Her mother refused sex with him. Then when she was nine it started. And he became so violent. So frightening. This is what is hard to understand. How can a man be so good and so evil. How can he actually care about you and yet hurt you? I wanted to figure it out, but I guess it is beyond understanding.

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    • I also will never understand why a man would choose to do this. I have tried to understand they whys of many things and some things I have found are beyond my scope of understanding because I do not have darkness in my heart like that so I cannot understand someone who does.
      I am currently reading The Body Keeps Score and finding it very enlightening on PTSD.
      Thank you for understanding about suffering and my pain. I understand just wanting to sleep. Just being so tired. Wishing you well

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so beautiful. I love this post. This is real, raw, and fresh. It’s refreshing. I love it when someone is willing to post the truth no matter what. That’s my girl. I love you and I’m so proud of you. I wish you the best in finding a new therapist. It’s too bad you can’t find one that specializes in helping those with PTSD. I’m sharing this on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Please read and share!! – My Journey; My Path

  8. Bethany, I think the book idea has a lot of merit. This wonderful post could serve as the basis for your book – a personal memoir that takes on and destroys the myths and lies you identified in the post. I think that such a book would go a long way toward raising public awareness about these realities that you have lived in the past and continue to live with in the present. The best part of such a book is that it would reflect the core values of this blog – brutally honest and hard-hitting. I hope you give the idea serious consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had been contemplating writing a book based on my blog and had most of it written and then scrapped it. I was taking the blog posts and making them into chapters and combining them and then i just didn’t like how it was going so after a year i scrapped it. But i’ve been pondering different ideas. I did publish 2 books of poetry but i would like to do more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you got frustrated the first time with the blog posts as chapters because the book didn’t have a central purpose and direction. If you decide to try again, think about what your main message will be and who is your primary audience. Once you’ve decided those two things, then outline the main ideas you wish to discuss/explain and what parts of your life experience you’d like to use to illustrate. Then arrange them in an order that leads your audience to the understanding you wish them to achieve.

        Once you have your outline, go back through your blogs to see which ones you can use/rework into the narrative. This will give your book a logical progression, coherence, and authenticity. I hope you decide to do this. You have a loyal following for support. Be well, dear. Hugs.

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      • This makes a lot of sense. I will start thinking on it. You are right. Before it was just a mish mash and didn’t have a real direction. Thank you for your ideas. I screen shoted this so I didnt forget it

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