So, I had a long talk with a friend today. It made me realize that there is so much more that I could have said in my last post, and I need to say it now.
At one point after Th1rteen R3asons Why became popular, the school district sent out an email that they didn’t believe that the show covered the real reason behind suicide well enough. They felt that it should have addressed the mental health of Hannah, not just what people are considering her “revenge.” My friend asked me, since I have been through it, how I felt the show/book covered what I went through.
Tears came to my eyes as I thought about what I went through so that I would be able to give a thorough answer to her question. Honestly, I feel that the show does put Hannah’s mindset into perspective. I don’t feel that it should be looked at that she was trying to get revenge on her bullies. I put myself in her place as I thought about it. If it were me, I wouldn’t have done it for revenge. I would have done it to let them know that this is why I did what I did. To let them know that what they did led me to kill myself. To let them know so that they could change. So that they would know that their behavior was unacceptable. Maybe it would help someone else by me outing their behavior. Bullies need to be made aware of their actions and how their actions effect others.
Do I believe someone’s mental health causes them to commit suicide? Yes, but I believe it depends on the situation. There was recently a boy that hanged himself after his girlfriend faked her own suicide online and through friends on social media. This was a boy who, according to his mother, was happy and active that just decided that he was going to kill himself because his girlfriend did. Was he suffering from mental illness? Not that his mother seemed to be aware of. It was a decision he made out of grief. It wasn’t thought out. He just did it after letting her friends know that he was going to do the same thing that he thought that she did.
I realize that mental illness is a thing. I am bipolar and depressive with extreme anxiety. Tons of fun, let me tell ya. My mental illness may have played a part in my suicide attempts when I was younger, but the bullying is what pushed me to it. Having people tell you over and over that you are worthless and ugly and stupid and a suck up and spread stupid rumors about you definitely hurts. You get to the point that you don’t want to hear it anymore. You can’t deal with it anymore. You feel that you are all of those things. You become all of those things. Someone telling you that they don’t believe you really have a boyfriend because no one could ever like you. A teacher saying that the reason people always pick at you is “Because you are standing there.” I have laughed at that comment that was made by my teacher, only so that no one knew how much it really bothered me. What really irritates me about it, is that he was the teacher that told the principal that I had attempted suicide. He knew. He knew that I had low self-esteem and no confidence in myself. He knew everything, but he said it anyway.
Returning to the accuracy of Th1rteen R3asons Why…
The portrayal of her actual suicide is very real. It was extremely hard to watch. I will admit, I was rather clueless when I attempted. Did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to slit your wrists? I didn’t. I did it the wrong way. The show portrays the right way. If there is a child out there watching this show, and they don’t know how it all works, this show is going to tell them how to do it.
I fully believe that any parent that knows that their child/teen is watching or has watched the show or is reading or has read the book, the parent needs to do the same and make sure the lines of communication are open. Talk to your kids. Let them know that there is another option. Let them know they can come to you if they have problems or concerns or bullies or suicidal thoughts. WE NEED TO BE AWARE! Pay attention to your kids. Watch and listen.
To all of the bullies: YOU need to be aware! Be aware of how you treat people. Be aware of how your behavior effects others. You know the saying. “You never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Always.” (There are too many variations–I wasn’t able to find who said it.)
Kids are mean. I don’t know why, but they are. I don’t think I will ever understand it.
We need to take control of the situation and encourage our kids to talk to us. We need to be approachable. They need to know that they aren’t going to be judged if they come to talk to us. We need to have an open mind and help them work through their issues. Bullying others needs to stop. Please talk to your kids. Please pay attention to them. There are so many crying out for help, and we just aren’t noticing.
What are the warning signs?
- Talking About Dying — any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self harm
- Recent Loss — through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of interest in friends, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed
- Change in Personality — sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic
- Change in Behavior — can’t concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
- Change in Sleep Patterns — insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares
- Change in Eating Habits — loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
- Fear of losing control – acting erratically, harming self or others
- Low self esteem — feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me”
- No hope for the future — believing things will never get better; that nothing will ever change(http://www.apa.org/research/action/suicide.aspx)
Need help or know someone that does?
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK