I’ve recently finished watching 13 Reasons Why and it scared me. It terrified me.
I’m not sure I’m even in a place to write this blog. I have so many thoughts, opinions, feelings and I’m not sure that I’m able to spit it all out correctly.
If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who walks you through her decision to kill herself. She recorded 13 tapes, each containing a reason as to what led her to make this terrible choice. She mailed the tapes to someone to pass on to the people that are a ‘reason’ as to why she ended her life.
This show is not nice, it’s not pretty, it’s not relaxing. It’s vulgar, it’s raw, and it’s scary.
I wasn’t going to watch it because I’m easily swayed by a story and I feel for the characters (even if they’re not real) and a show can ruin my whole day. So I read the stats instead. Surely I could read the stats maybe a story or two and save some time. But the stats on suicide will overwhelm you. They will hurt you and break your heart. They will blow your mind and then confuse you. They will make you question what these people have gone through. They make you realize
Hannah Baker is real. You know a Hannah Baker.
My first thoughts were simple.
– Everyone plays a role in suicide, whether it’s helpful and just wasn’t enough or it’s harmful. The choices we make, the things we say, the actions we do will effect someone. If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it at all.
– Hannah was desperate for attention. We all are. We all want someone to love and notice us, but killing yourself will not help.
– What kind of world do we live in? Why are drugs, alcohol, self-harm, rape, sexism, and adults who don’t care normal for teens?
When I finished the show I could only think one thing, what are these parents doing? What are they doing! Where are they?
Bryce was left alone for days, weeks, maybe months at a time. Left in a mansion with alcohol everywhere and anywhere.
Justin was abused, kicked out of his home, and abandoned by his mother for a drunk.
Zach had his mother fight his own battles and hold his hand while being told he’s perfect and could never do anything wrong.
Courtney was always pressured to be perfect and nothing less.
Alex and Jessica called their father ‘sir’.
Jessica was also left home alone for weeks.
Tyler had a gun hiding in his room and his parents had no idea.
This show was just proof that children aren’t treated like children anymore. There is no separation and it causes so much confusion among them. I understand that teenagers are older than children, but they aren’t capable of being treated like adults. Because of this, they act “older”. They take on the stress, alcohol, drugs, etc. and feel as if they can do it all by themselves. They think they are indestructible.
It is too much.
What do they do now? Talk to someone? What if no one is there? What if the teachers in our education system say ‘not my kid, not my problem‘. They then are “forced to take the only way out” of this chaotic life that absent parents, disinterested teachers, and over independent selves have created.
Word of advice
Be there for your children, be there for your students, be there for your friends, just please, be there. Be present in their lives, issues, failures, struggles because if you are, you’ll be able to be there for their accomplishments, joys, milestones, and most importantly – the rest of their lives.
The next time someone asks for a drive home, take them up on the offer.
You might save a life.