I have heard the hype and arguments from varying viewpoints surrounding the teen suicide Netflix drama ‘13 Reasons Why’ and unless you’ve been living in a bubble, the likelihood is that you have too.
I have heard people swear by it as an “educational resource” and others hate its mere existence (which many mental health groups and educational institutions have claimed glorify suicide and are consequently dangerous). I have also watched much of the series myself (although I opted out of some of the more graphic scenes in line with issued warnings and with awareness around my own vulnerabilities).
I am a mental health consumer (and advocate) who has been hospitalized for depression and anxiety in both public and private hospitals and as such think I can provide a unique viewpoint and voice on this topic.
Regardless of whether you think the ’13 Reasons Why’ series is of merit in terms of prompting tough discussions (because let’s face it silence can and does kill!) I think most people on a good day at least on some level can appreciate that suicide is never the answer.
Having said that, in the past I have sadly experienced times when finding a solution to ending my emotional pain and torment seemed an attractive offering (regardless of the human and personal cost).
During those dark days I walked in troubling shoes battling demons that told me that ending my own life was a solid solution to temporary woes. Of course that was the mind of my illness and when I’m healthy I know better. Today I am grateful to have lived to tell the tale of overcoming suicidal thoughts.
But in case there is anyone out there reading who is thinking that suicide is an easy solution to their current or ongoing woes I encourage you to read my 13 Reasons Why You Need To Live (and never give up hope).
- Things in your life can improve. Step by step, day by day… you can and will find a path through the pain and darkness and again experience moments of life that make all that effort worthwhile, ten- fold. Recovery is possible.
- What seems like a massive deal in your life today may not mean as much tomorrow… least of all in ten years from now. If you are acting in haste try to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
- Supports are available to you even if it means swallowing some pride to seek them out. Your life may depend on it. Seek help immediately.
- You only get one life… There really are no second chances. Think of all the things in your life you hoped you would one day accomplish, hang onto those dreams. You can still bring them to life.
- Suicide is a permanent solution to what is often a temporary problem. Find your protective factors and embrace them. If you’d find it hard to say a final goodbye to someone in particular- it’s not your time to do so. Reach out to someone you love and trust.
- You are loved, even when you can’t feel it. Believe me when I say your loved ones would not recover if they lost you to suicide.
- There are damaging ramifications of grief and guilt left behind for everyone close to you, forever. If no one cared about your wellbeing this very piece you are reading would not exist. You are unique. There’s only one you.
- You deserve to give yourself a fighting chance at a future which will could bring with it health and happiness.
- Take it from someone who has hit rock bottom…. the only way is up.
- As much as it hurts to live right now the pain will not be permanent. Be brave enough to seek help and take each day as it comes. A long journey starts with just one small step.
- Dark patches in life make the good days that much brighter and when you are well you will see this new found appreciation of mediocrity and sunlight.
- You are an amazing unique gift in this world. Never waste your talents, your viewpoint and all you have to offer.
- You are someone’s child/ parent/ brother / sister or friend (or even a pet’s owner). They need you. Their life would not be the same without you. Your own life wouldn’t exist without you.
From someone who has experienced crippling lows of depression and anxiety I know that sometimes living feels like the fight of your life. And there are no guarantees a way forward will be easy. BUT you only get one chance in this world so believe me when I say the fight is worth it. Recovery may be exhausting, hard and even unfathomable at times…. but the alternative is always much worse. Suicide is not an alternative to pain, it’s an alternative to living. Suicide is never the answer. Nope, never.
If you need a gentle reminder, print this off and pin it your wall. May it light a spark or flicker of hope and fire in your belly that you can push through this. Together, we can do this. YOU can do this. YOU MUST DO THIS.
Stay safe and brave my friends (and virtual friends) from far and wide and reach out for help where and when you need it (both for yourself and loved ones). Be kind and compassionate with your actions and words. And most importantly remember that every single one of us is worthy of the life we have been so lovingly granted.