As the conversations begin, I'd like to outline what I think is an even more important list than the one on Hannah Baker's tapes. While she found 13 reasons to end her life, I'd like to offer 13 reasons not to end yours.
Like many people, I recently watched the new season of 13 Reasons Why. For those who have not been following Netflix and social media, the show follows the aftermath of Hannah Baker's suicide and the effect it had on her classmates at Liberty High School.
The show has drawn tons of attention for its graphic depiction of suicide, sexual assault, and self-harm. It has also started conversations about mental health, addiction, rape culture, and much more. Some have said the show glamorizes these tragedies and presents suicide as an option. Others have praised the producers for starting conversations and attempting to end the stigma that surrounds mental health.
As someone who has struggled with depression and anixiety for most of my life and someone who has lost loved ones to suicide, I have a different perspective on the matter. While I am glad that people are finally starting to talk about depression and what it can lead to, I have some reservations about the show. I won't go into detail about the plot, for those who have not seen it, but I will say that the subject matter of several episodes can be dangerous for some viewers.
I think talking about mental health is vitally important, especially for young people who are at the highest risk for suicide. It's important that we make others feel safe in expressing themselves and tread lightly when offering advice. We don't want to diminish someone's pain by simply saying "get over it" or "things will get better." As the conversations begin, I'd like to outline what I think is an even more important list than the one on Hannah Baker's tapes. While she found 13 reasons to end her life, I'd like to offer 13 reasons not to end yours.
1. Someone loves you. Sometimes we don’t feel as loved as we really are, but I promise someone does care. Suicide doesn’t really end the pain, it just passes it on to someone else.
2. You have a purpose. Your life has meaning, and you have so much to offer the world. There will never be another you. Don’t take your light away from us.
3. Your pets would be sad. It’s not just people who are hurt by loss. Our furry friends feel it too.
4. You never know what tomorrow holds. Any day could be the day that changes your life. You don’t want to miss out on what life has in store for you.
5. Your favorite holiday is coming up. Even if it was yesterday, every day brings us closer to your favorite day of the year, whatever it may be. There’s always something to look forward to.
6. Think about all the great foods you haven’t tried yet! For me, life is mostly about food, so the thought of tasty new dishes is my motivation from time to time.
7. You are worthy of life, love, and happiness. Sometimes when things get dark, we can lose sight of our worth. You, no matter who you are, are worth it. You are worth the fight, the ups, the downs, all of it. You are worthy of all of these things simply because you breath.
8. Stay alive for all the things you enjoy, no matter how small they seem. Stay alive for bubble baths and the new season of your favorite show. Stay alive for rainy days on the couch and movie theater popcorn. Whatever it is in life that brings you any amount of joy, stay alive for that.
9. The rest of your life is the best of your life. It's so true that the best has yet to come. Adventure awaits around every turn, and things are constantly changing. Find one thing to look forward to, and hold on to it.
10. I would miss you. Even if I don't know you personally, I am glad you are alive. If you leave us, I will miss you and mourn for your family and friends. The effects of taking a life stretch far beyond just those who know you.
11. It's not worth it. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing in this world, is worth ending a life. It's not worth the pain it will cause others or the scars attempts will leave on you. No matter what you are going through, it is not worth it.
12. Life is incredible. Life is filled with so many wonderful things like chococlate and music and pandas and books and ice cream and movies and all sorts of other things. If you go, you'll never get to hear your favorite band again, or watch the sequal to that movie you really like, or enjoy any of the simple yet magnificent things that life has to offer.
13. It will get better. As someone who made it to the other side of the valley, I promise you with everything that I am that it does get better. It may not be today or tomorrow or even next week, but it does get better.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts or actions, do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Follow Halen on Twitter: @LikeVanHalen