What “13 Reasons Why” got absolutely right.

Lets get the disclosure out of the way, for those of you who haven’t ‘met’ me here yet.

I am not a suicidal teenage girl.  I am a fifty year old woman with decades of perspective on life and the fact that it does get better.  I’m a mom, and I think like one, and I’m afraid like one, and I’m lame with regard to safety things like a mom.

But I’m a suicidal mom.

Not right this minute but recently.  Not once, but five times.  I’m also a medical professional, so I know that, left untreated, depression will lift itself in about 6-12 months.  Left untreated, it will return, just like ‘flare-ups’ of other chronic diseases like asthma or crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes the flare ups are mild and don’t interfere with life all that much.  Sometimes they’re debilitating.  Sometimes, you need daily medication to keep it under control.  That’s what it is.  Any doctor can tell you that.  Even the students and the doctors-in-training can tell you that.

But here’s the punch line.  The money shot.  Ready?

THEY WOULDN’T RECOGNIZE SUICIDALITY IF IT KICKED THEM IN THE BALLS.

Oh, they think they could.  Adults, I mean.  Doctors, teachers, counselors, professionals.  Because there are MYRIAD (Heathers, anyone?) societies, associations, manuals, etc. that define the diagnostic criteria and pontificate online about how 13 Reasons Why is dangerous and suicide is contagious, and there’s help lines and counselors and adults and doctors blah blah blah.  When those of us who have been there know damn good and well that you can kick them in the balls with your story and they still don’t fucking see it.

Nobody saw Hannah. And CRITICALLY IMPORTANTLY,  nobody saw Alex.  Imma repeat it.  Let it sink in a minute.

Even though Hannah kicked 13 people in the metaphorical balls, and they should have KNOWN what it looked like, how it acted, and the lesson was fresh, NOBODY SAW ALEX.

THIS is the danger of this disease.  I have written previously about how I TOLD doctors, nurses, friends about being suicidal and they said, “commitment is too much paperwork,” and “I didn’t think you were serious,” or just even started ignoring my texts and telling me “it’s time to get past this already.”  There was ONE person who took me at my word, checked in every night, listened to me repeat my pathetic story every night for 9 months straight. Knew every bit of my evil and called me again the next day anyway. ONE.

We need to be the one.  Each of us needs to learn to SEE depression, SEE suicidality and be the one.

I’ll be developing this more in the near future.  Stay tuned.  And be prepared to submit your stories 🙂 We all need to hear them.  Be Hannah without needing to die.  I’ll listen.  We can all learn to listen.

 

 

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One thought on “What “13 Reasons Why” got absolutely right.

  1. bipolarsojourner says:

    you are so fortunate to be in such a horrible place and have one. if i had that one, i wish i could call them on a daily basis for nine months in appreciation for their support and, let’s face it, saving your life.

    do me me a favor. thank them for me, for being the pinnacle of support in your hour of deepest need, for listening to you and not trying to impose their will on you. that is invaluable, worth more than any pile of gold. let them know for me they need to be cloned n times, where n is the number people that have depression.

    Like

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