TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY

I told myself I would never watch this show. I told myself it would be dangerous. Not suitable for suicide or rape survivors. (I would still advise to survivors to be cautious – there are a lot of triggers.) I have never been able to read or watch anything containing rape. This proved difficult when the book you needed to read was for your final year English exam. I realised though that I am becoming stronger. Even though I am stronger, it is not easy. Especially now. Especially when the suicidal thoughts are back.

I was in the hospital for more assessments and I could not sleep. I was thinking about this show. This show that has had so much attention that I refused to watch. About what it really means. I needed to know. So I came home. Sleep may have be smarter. I had not slept. Instead, I just took the remote and put it on. I was fascinated as I always am with suicide. She describes it so well. The empty. The nothing. Not caring. Not being able to care about anything. There are people who care, but no one cares enough. I am no one’s first choice.

This show makes me mad. It also makes me so happy. Happy that I was able to watch it. I was strong. I am still here. I feel better for it. I watched the pain and suffering. I watched what happens to every person you leave behind. Even those who you think will not be affected. Whilst I am mad that Clay did not speak up, did not tell her that she was his first choice, I love the creation of this character. It is so real. He grieves. He responds as we hope that guys will not, when we reach out and try to be honest. Go away is really a sign that you are hurting. Walking out is a prompt to go after someone. I was mad about the guidance counsellor. I get mad every time people reach out and no one does anything.

Sometimes we need strangers, sometimes we need friends. I found an accuracy in the portrayal of characters. We are all wrapped up in our own things. People slip away. Suicide is one of the biggest killers. It is not cancer. It is depression. We let it happen. This show really shows that there are so many reasons why and we are all reasons why. In everything that we do and do not do, things are set in motion. Silence makes it worse. That is why I write. So whilst I told myself not to watch this show, I am glad I did. It shows all the warning signs. It shows the reality of it.

I do not think that it glorifies suicide. It was difficult to watch. It was brutally honest. It was real. It showed the impact and effects of everything that is done. Once I started I could not stop. I took breaks and as I got further in, I realised I should not be alone. So I moved and continued. I could not stop. I had to know why. Many of the reasons are similar to why I have considered it. I want to know how to overcome, I do not want to go unnoticed. I liked the line suicide is for the weak. I watched how the characters fell apart afterwards. I watched the destruction. I watched not for her, but for him. I fell in love with his character. I watched a girl in desperate need of help. I watched a guy who did not know.

I watched until he found out everything. I had to know everything. I had to see. He did what I could not have expected. People say she did it out of revenge. I do not think she had her mind on that in that moment. She provided an explanation. The best peace of mind that she could provide for those who did not understand. With that explanation, he did so much for her. He suffered and struggled and wanted to die, but lived. He brought crimes into the light. I really fell in love with this character.

If anything, this showed girls in need of help. It showed bullying. It showed how vulnerable teenagers are. It showed how ignorant parents are. It showed why we do not ask for help when we need it most, because the responses really are awful. It did not mention mental illness, but the signs were all there.

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything affects everything.”

Why people do not get this, I do not know. Why people do not think before their actions, I can never understand. The show was very much about her and her road to suicide, but I think all the characters depicted something. Anxiety and depression and grief and PTSD. It is true that you mess with people’s lives. Now you know about me not trusting people. Now you know about me protecting myself. Maybe, it is a mental illness. I have not been diagnosed with anything. So I cannot tell you for sure. I am getting help. I can tell you that to me, it is real. This is real. Trust is not there. Honesty is not there.

Emptiness is here. I have no hope. I see nothing but pain. I am strong. I will not choose suicide. It begins with thoughts, then attempts until it finally happens. You switch off, you die. Or you fight. You are lost. You do not fit in. But you fight. That is what this show really showed. The difference. It showed that you can live. It showed two different rape stories. It showed different depression stories. It showed bullying. It showed bad and good parenting. It showed choices and it made it clear, it was a choice. It was her choice. Everyone is entitled to choice. It is not a choice that I will make.

You consider it a lot, when you are in the dark, but the light does come. That is the difference. That is what makes me mad. That is what makes me happy. I do consider it. I do not always have the help that I need. I have more than her though. I will never be that lost. I am constantly being found. I am self-motivated. That is all you really need to tell yourself. Sometimes, the only reason is not to cause others pain. You are already in pain, it makes no difference to you. That is a good enough reason for me. It is a reason.

So instead of listing the reasons you want to die, list the reasons not to. Read them over and over. Etch them on your heart. There are always reasons to live. There are always alternatives. My list of names may be smaller, but it is still there. My reasons grow. With every sunset, there is another small glimmer of hope. I hold on to that. Thirteen is my favourite number. So from now on I will tell myself the thirteen reasons why. I will remember the reasons why I live.

Survivor

The truth is: I do not know why. I do not know why I do the things that I do. I cannot explain why I feel how I do. I am terrified. Terrified of myself. When you live a life like this, a life with no vitality…simply survival, it becomes pathetic. I have to fight with myself every day and the conflict is simply exhausting. You come out on the other side, feeling even less than when you started.

I do not know why I do it. I thought that I maybe wanted attention, but then the shame is so great that you do not even tell anyone. You just sit silently judging yourself for a long time. Even when you snap of it, you do not understand. The worst part is that you just sort of block it out, pretend none of it happened so that you can move on, move forward. There is no forward, though, not really. Where do you go from here? From nobody knowing, from all the pretending to just pretend some more. I think it is the secrets that kill me.

I was naïve. I had this image in my head that they would diagnose me as mentally ill and my mother would finally see clearly. I envisaged her taking me into her arms and telling me it was all going to be alright. I thought that she would hold me until I slept and I would finally make it through the night. I would finally feel the love that I have been craving. I feel even less than before. She will never understand. She does not care about anyone else enough to see that I am hurting. All she says it that she failed. It is all about her, again. My pain, my hurting, it gets pushed aside. I crave her love so badly. I want to be taken care of. I have lost the strength to do this on my own.

You come out the other side though and everything is much worse. You are still alone. You cannot tell anyone. Now, you have a secret. It is dirty and dangerous. You are in danger. No one to hold you. No sleep. No feelings. Just danger. You know that if nothing changes, it will happen again. You will end up back in exactly the same place.

I cannot explain the urges. I cannot explain much. I am switched off, completely shutting down. That is all that I can be sure of. There will be no human left. I am afraid. Not afraid of death. Death seems easy. I am afraid of this life, with no vitality. I am afraid, because I have given up hope. I am no longer concerned with happiness. I just want to feel alive.

Coping

Sometimes I want to die. I really do. I plan it and I think about it all the time. I am obsessed with the idea of being anywhere but here. Getting to live a different life. This one, it feels so damn empty. I look for things to make me feel better, but they are all so temporary and the emptiness comes back. It does not go for long. I wish I could see to a tomorrow. The days are getting so dark now. Facing my thoughts is a harder battle than I thought. I am grateful to communities like the artidote. I am grateful for support systems and counsellors. I am glad that I write. No matter what, I write. When it is out there, I never realised what that meant. I did not think that people would read and respond.  I feel a little less empty. I love words. Every time I receive words, with no face or idea of what a person is going through, I am in awe; holding on to those words.

I have not tried to die for a while. I have not taken drugs or become obsessed with the ideas of limbo and hallucinations. I feel all that is in my past. The feelings are still there. The thoughts come and go. “Mother, I have pasts inside me I did not bury properly. Some nights, your daughter tears herself apart yet heals in the morning” – I guess that is me. I always make it somehow. I am doing it now with nothing but me. All I have is this body, this mind. It is crumbling though. No God, no drugs, no abusing this body. I wish I did not crumble. I wish I was strong all the time. It gets exhausting though.

All I am ever looking for is someone who understands. I need a person in my life who knows struggle as well as I do, but is not still struggling. Someone who knows how it hurts to heal. Some things just cannot be put into words. I know these people are out there. I have met them. I have gained and lost people over and over. Sometimes, I learn from them about struggle. Other times about feelings and how to cope. I am so advanced to know what my mind is doing when and how it is doing it. Not everyone is so self aware. I do not have all the answers. I will never have all the answers. I have so much to learn though. I suppose that is why I do not die.

I am not holding onto anything. The thoughts of never seeing people or places again rarely does it for me. I think about me though. All that I can become, in the most modest of ways. I realise my potential. Hardly anyone else does. I know that I am smart. I can be something. I read and I love to learn. So I hold on to me. It is hard. Harder than you would even believe if you saw the smile I wear sometimes. It is my reality. I am a fighter, though. I was born a fighter and I always be one. So now, my time has come to fight for me.