I’m sure by now you’ve seen, or read, or both, 13 Reasons Why. I’m sure your heart broke when you saw Clay break down. I bet you related to a lot of the things that she went through. I’m sure that you cried when Jeff died in that accident. You may have even turned your head away when Hannah and Jessica were raped… the whole show grabs at your heart strings and yanks… hard.
I’ve heard and read so many arguments over this show. You get the sense that if you’re just kind to a person, if you can love them and stay by their side, they will be okay. Clay says in one of the last scenes that he killed her because he was afraid to love her. On the other hand, I’ve heard the argument that the show completely over looks mental illnesses. It says that kindness can solve it all. To be honest, I agree with both. As someone who has been there, who has had suicidal thoughts, who deals with depression, I think both sides have merit.
On one hand, kindness goes so much farther than some people realize. Even with a mental illness, if one person does something kind for you, it helps. Even if it’s just for a moment. Sometimes that one moment is all you need. I knew someone that once told me that if I hadn’t called to see if they wanted to grab lunch or something that day, they wouldn’t be here right now. I had no idea at the time.
On the other hand, I think that mental illness actually did play a role in the show, even if it wasn’t obvious. You see Hannah falling farther into a pit. Each incident pulls her further into the abyss. And some people scoff at parts of it. I’ve seen tweets that say “someone doesn’t give Hannah back her pen. Welcome to your tape.” But if you have a mental illness it doesn’t matter how small the incident, it can tear at you and destroy you all the same. You can’t just get over some things because it eats at you and chips away at everything. That’s what mental illness does.
I don’t believe that suicide is ever an answer. Things get better with time. You may not see it then, but eventually you’ll start to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m also not saying that leaving those tapes behind the way she did was okay. Do I think those kids needed to realize the harm their actions caused? Yes. Do I think the way it happened was okay? No.
I think that this show/book is something that people should know about. I think that if you know someone who is struggling, it will help you understand their mind a little better. I think that there are a lot of hard things to hear and see. And if you haven’t come to terms with certain things, I think that this show may not be for you.
Just keep in mind that you never know what is going through someone’s head. You have no idea what they have to deal with daily. You don’t know if people bully them, or spread rumors. You don’t know if they have a mental illness or if they battle to make it through each day. I think it’s important to be kind to one another. And if nothing else, 13 Reasons Why is the perfect example of why.