Thought Catalog
May 4, 2017

I Was Once A ‘Hannah Baker’ And This Is How I Really Feel About ’13 Reasons Why’

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Netflix / 13 Reasons Why

I was never going to share this story because I never felt the need to. This happened three years ago, but because of the “trending” topic right now as a result of the show 13 Reasons Why, I feel the need to say something, and I hope by doing so this will help people understand the specific situation/condition instead of judging what they think it should be and how it should be handled. This might be pretty long, but I hope you can take the time to read it.

The first half of 2014 was a very, very dark time for me. I won’t go into specifics, but I can tell you that during those months I felt like I was drowning every second of every minute of every day. It’s not that I was unemployed, had no friends, was unloved by family – I had a job, I had great friends, I had a supportive family. But still, I felt so lonely, so worthless, so useless, so unlovable. I felt like everything that happened to me (whether it was as big as a fight with a family member, or as small as a friend cancelling dinner plans) was the world’s way of digging a knife deeper into the cracks of my already broken heart.

Everything piled up. I couldn’t see light. I couldn’t feel love. I couldn’t be happy. It was just dark. Always.

There were many times when I would be battling with myself, trying to convince myself to do the right thing. To get help. But darkness would always win. Fear, anxiety, disappointment, heartbreak… They always won.

It took a horribly unfortunate incident for my family to realize what was happening to me. To push me to get help and get better. It was difficult. Convincing myself to see the light was one of the hardest things I could do for myself. There were setbacks, but step by step, day by day, slowly, very slowly, the cracks in my heart that were bleeding with darkness started to shine and become light. With the help of my family and friends I began to see the world for what it really was – and not through the eyes of depression.

Now I can say that I’m healed. Life still comes with its struggles, I still feel anxiety sometimes. I still feel that sensation where I can’t breathe and my brain can’t get out of panic mode. But now my eyes are open, and I am convinced that light always wins. I needed my family and friends to help me see that. I could not have done it on my own.

You see, this is why I believe in this show so much. Because for me, it was my truth. Hannah’s character was me, except she didn’t have her family and friends to help her. People like Hannah can’t do it alone. You can’t say that “she can make her own choice” because she can’t. She really can’t do it on her own. She needed someone to say “I know what is happening to you, let me help you.” But no one did.

You can’t say that the people around her that did things to her (whether big or small) were not accountable for her life. Something as small as not letting someone borrow a pen could trigger the worst attack of depression. We are all accountable for every single action we take (or the actions we refuse to/are to afraid to take) that affects someone else’s life.

The show does not “dramatize” or “glorify” depression or suicide. It shows you how it really is. The rape scenes and the suicide scene were graphic? Well, life is graphic. Life does not censor pain. Yes, the show needs to improve on how it explains the topic of depression. But it is not completely wrong in how it currently portrays it.

I truly, truly hope that people start watching the show with compassionate eyes instead of judging minds. Watch with your heart and not with your head. Understand the truth instead of forcing your “facts” upon it. It is those who refuse to understand that are the reasons why there are people like Hannah. Let’s change that. Let’s make sure no one has to go through what she did, that no one has to resort to what she did. We can still make a difference, but it has to begin by understanding the truth, and that is exactly what I believe the show is trying to do.

If you don’t agree with me, then that’s totally fine. I am just speaking out now because this show has touched my heart so immensely. Now more than ever, I am grateful that I had my family and closest friends to help me when I needed help most, but a lot of people out there don’t have or can’t find that same kind of support.

I was once a Hannah Baker. I hope that through this show, we can prevent others from becoming her as well. TC mark

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