“Hannah Baker didn’t have nearly enough reasons to kill herself.”
A couple of disclaimers beforehand: I know this is a sensitive topic, and if you don’t feel up to open talk about suicide right now, stop. I’m also no psychological professional. This is just my speaking from my own experience and thoughts. Finally, I know 13 Reasons Why is only a TV show (and book) at the end of the day, but it’s about a very real issue that mostly everyone deals with (or has thoughts on): dying. With that, onwards.
Here’s why the comments section of literally all the YouTube clips/discussions on 13RW bother me. These comments say, “oh wait, since I have it so much worse than her, she literally had no reason to go and slit her wrists in a bathtub”. Or, “the show promotes suicide.” And worse, the “welcome to your tape” memes. (if you haven’t seen them on your feeds already, then here you go. Lighthearted, but…sick.)
It’s really, really horrible, because at the end of the day…your depression matters? It’s legitimate? There isn’t any checklist criteria that you have to meet to be depressed? Sure, abusive households, sexual abuse, eat disorders, they all may contribute. They may be reasons.
But they’re not the only reasons.
And that’s what’s important to remember. I was sad for the longest time (more on that another time, I suppose) but I didn’t mention it to anyone even once because I couldn’t bring myself to. Anyone who doesn’t meet the “criteria” is just seen as ungrateful, or lying. The same way Hannah’s tape on Zach: the one where she talked about being lonely. It just?? wasn’t seen as a legitimate reason? My grandmother is going through a lot these days, and the lack of human contact is one of the reasons why. It counts. It counts. While the fact that she actually sent Zach a tape blaming him is another story, a person’s sadness is complex. It’s theirs, and in their head, and they’re suffering. So who are you to say they’re not?
OH, also. Sylvia Plath. In case you didn’t go through the Bell Jar or casually read through her entire Wikipedia page (because that’s my idea of a night in. Aha.), here’s what happened. She was bright. Academic laurels, prizes, and scholarships came easily to her. She went to Newnham and everything, until she went to a seminar in NY and kind of fell apart. Enough to have to be submitted into an asylum. (Also, guys. The Bell Jar. I’m still not okay someone fangirl please>!?)
The example seems kind of out of place, but the thing is. She had it all, on first glance. But she was mentally ill, regardless. She wasn’t okay for the longest time, and found it difficult to read, sleep, write, and ended her life with her head in an oven. Everyone’s struggle is legitimate, and mocking the reasons they went off the edge isn’t okay in any circumstance.
Sorry for being an internet priest, by the way, but I feel like this needed to be said.