Yes, I watched 13 reasons why, hoping it would finally show what it’s like to have mental illnesses. I was told it showed the truth, and for those who had been bullied or suffered from any mental illness it was a portrayal of everything you really felt. Of course, the moment I felt any triggers I knew to turn the show off, but really I just watched it in disappointment.
DO NOT WATCH THIS IF YOU STRUGGLE WITH SUICIDE. IT DEPICTS A VERY GRAPHIC SCENE.
I’m not a professional critic, just someone with life experience who wants to advocate.
Stop Romanticizing Suicide
Ok, it’s great that there is a love story, I’m always down for a good love story, but dear baby spaghetti monster, quit romanticizing her suicide. It is not a romantic moment when Clay realizes he is in love with her, it is a painful and horrible moment. She is gone, and this is what happens to those who are left behind. Pain, despair, tragedy. It’s not romantic, it’s horrific. They’re love story isn’t romantic, it isn’t star crossed lovers, it’s a terrible but real portrayal of what happens to the survivors. Stop making it seem like it’s a Romeo and Juliet story, it’s not healthy for anyone.
2. Where are the signs?
No one suffers the same way. Depression fits the person it takes hold of, but the only sign of her ever falling apart is once during a PTSD moment and her nit-picky cleaning her room before she ends her life. There is no falling into a habitual clothing routine, no days where she begs her family to stay home because she just can’t get out of bed, no outward signs of her pain like aching joints or acne prone skin, no change/lack of interest in any subjects except for her taking up poetry club for a bit, and her appearance throughout the movie retains the same put together girl.
I can tell you that’s not how it is. No, it’s not all staying in bed all day every day and never changing out of sweatpants. Depression doesn’t mean someone doesn’t have moments of happiness. It’s a change in a person. All of a sudden they switch to something else to be involved in to try to fill their emptiness, they way the dress may change, they no longer hang out with anyone or cancel a lot, and may completely lose interest in something they once loved.
There are no outward signs of her pain, which I have never seen a day in my life. Besides some crying, there isn’t anything to show that she’s hurting.
3. Bullying is real
I've been bullied on several occasions. I’ve dealt with it in some very sad ways and I’ve dealt with it in some very positive ways. The way this series shows bullying is about the realest part of the entire thing.
It’s painful, humiliating, cuts you off from humanity, and a lot of adults brush it off as just some teenage rebellion. It’s serious and needs to be seen that way. Harassment is real, especially in college and high school. Boys objectifying girls, girls making other girls the school “slut”, it actually all happens. The talking, the laughing, the loneliness is all real. It’s the one part of the show that I felt close too and bonded with.
13 reasons why is cinematically beautiful and well written, but it will never be a portrayal of mental health issues. There is no romance, there is no “beauty in pain”, none of that crap that twitter has taken and run with. You have created a show that perpetuates the romantic suicide stereotype all millennials see on TV, on tumblr, on twitter, everywhere.
Yes, I am so happy that Netflix tried and wants to be an advocate. They showed tough scenes like rape, drinking, guns, and the actual suicide itself, but it wasn’t right.
No one is posting pictures of the handprint bruises on Hannah’s arms. No one is posting the traumatic episode of PTSD she has with Clay. No one is posting her buying razors or filling the bath tub.
They’re posting the quotes of her and Clay. Posting how hot the boys in the show are. Making memes out of “this is your tape”, lists, or her intro in the tape.
Another show has tried to depict mental illness and again failed. Gave twitter and the idiots who self diagnose more material to run with. It’s excruciating to watch as someone who’s been in therapy for 4 years and still struggles every day.
So if you watch 13 Reasons Why, do your research. Read the articles written by mental health professionals and really think about what you’re watching. If you start to romanticize, go watch the documentary A Girl Like Her or Audrie and Daisy.