I’ve spent the last week watching the much talked about Netflix programme, 13 Reasons Why.
I’ve also seen so many mixed reviews-so many opinions on the subject of suicide and mental health issues being made so accessible to young viewers throughout this programme.
As much as I can understand people’s concerns, I can only write my opinion from my own experiences-which is actually harder than you would think.
Unlike ‘Hannah Baker’, when I was 16/17, I wasn’t in school or college. I’d left school-and my god, I was so happy to have left.
My school days were horrendous. I was bullied from the age of 7. The school I attended, didn’t have a support system like the school featured on 13 Reasons Why. The teachers knew what was going on-but they didn’t do a thing about it.
My son is 7. I can’t imagine what other children would want to bully him over, let alone think about him being unable to find support for issues he would be going through.
If anything, due to my experiences, I’m more heightened to anything that could be perceived as bullying-from his side as well as other children’s sides.
I make sure he understands his words have power. He can break a person with his words-so thoughts and feelings are important when you say something to, or about someone.
Unfortunately my bullies were never taught those lessons. Because of this, my bullying experience never ended.
I was attacked, verbally and physically from the age of 7 until I was 16. That’s nine whole years of my life, being picked away at until I was unable to find the real me.
Instead, I spent my years trying to be someone who would fit in-someone who people would like. Then, when I’d get picked on for something else, I’d change again, hoping the next version of me would be someone that people would want to make friends with.
It didn’t matter. The things I was being picked on for were things I couldn’t change-how I looked, my hair, my clothes.
My story is as unlike ‘Hannah Baker’s’ as it is like hers. Being younger than her and attending an all girls school, meant that I didn’t have the sexual experiences/issues she did.
However, the mental effect my bullies had on me, are as similar as they can be without me following through with dark suicidal thoughts.
The deep dark truth, in not only Hannah’s story, or my story, is that there are young people, not just in the US and here in the UK, that are that desperate.
They are that battered down by their deeply damaging issues that they can’t think of another way out.
Educating people on the full extent of what can happen in schools, and the support needed for victims, is needed more now than ever before.
That is why, programmes like 13 Reasons Why are important.
There should never be such loneliness felt in a persons life that they end up feeling like they don’t want to be alive anymore.
Watch it. Discuss it. Help.
For those finding resonance in this blog, or while watching 13 Reasons Why, please don’t suffer in silence. I wasn’t able to find help-but in this day there are so many support services available. I know how hard it is to speak up-but if you can find that strength deep inside you, you can change the course of your future, with the help of support around you.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, someone to talk to, or advice and guidance contact Samaritans: TEXT: 07725 90 90 90 CALL: 116123 (free) or visit their website for further information by clicking here.