I was a kid once, and I was depressed once, actually, I am still depressed. One thing that drives stigma about depression is the misunderstandings about it being a chronic illness, just like diabetes and asthma, it can be life long and will need constant medical attention.
I am a depressed asthmatic, and no they really are not related. I developed asthma from untreated allergies and genetics, and I developed depression from chronic life long stress and genetics. You see, both asthma and mental illness run in my family. I won’t name names but I will say that more than half the people I am related to by blood are mentally ill, and my situation is more common than you might think.
The “reason” I am talking about this is because of the new show “13 Reasons Why.” This show stars a girl like me, or at least who I was in high school: troubled, neglected by family, no friends, and deeply, deeply lonely. I wanted to kill myself at 16. In fact I had finished my junior of high school, I placed in state speech and was the student director of my schools 1-Act team. But, I was bullied, harassed for being a hot girl with a physical handicap (oh, and I have Erb’s Palsy, too), and was utterly convinced that I did not have a future.
My dad was, and still is, very mentally ill. My entire high school experience was plagued with taking care of him and watching my younger sister get into drugs and alcohol. No one cared if I took the ACT. No one cared about my competitions. No one cared about my poetry. No one cared if I went to college. No on cared if I had friends or even a boyfriend. I was a good kid who caused no problems, and that was the problem. I wanted to die because I didn’t matter. My freshman year of high school was when I became a target of bullies, and then I was quickly forgotten about by everyone.
I didn’t kill myself, but that didn’t stop the hell I went through, and continued to go through, after I left high school.
For the most part I gained strength, failed more times than I’d like to admit, and was suicidal more times than anyone I know would have guessed. The reason I am sharing this is because I just got done seeing “13 Reasons Why”. It upset me. It made me cry. It made me think. And it is making me write.
It is both frivolous and deeply thought provoking. It gets mental illness out their in the spotlight, but It also wields a sword that is almost to heavy for anyone to handle.
I will say that I greatly appreciate the creators making an effort to explain, delve into, and advocate the awareness of mental illness.
I call it [mental illness] the caner of the 2010’s. It has been a silent stigmatized family secret for far too long, and finally, it’s being talked about. However, this show aims this heavy dark discussion at teens, the least able to deal with such a topic. But I get it, young people are the ones most affected by it. Its the young, not old, that take their lives. And believe me, depression will take your life even if you never physically die from it. In many more ways than I can explain, depression destroyed my life. It is a miracle that I am still here to type on these keys.
Here is what I will say about this show:
- It gets depression right in that when you want to die you are not thinking clearly.
- I do not agree with the premise that others are to be responsible for your choice to take your own life. I did blame people for my depression, especially when I was kid, but it isn’t going to help anyone trying to stick a blame on suicide. I think the discussion about making it easier to talk and get adequate help for cheap is what is most important.
- It does get under my skin to see something that I live through everyday becoming a trend, but it cannot become apart of public discussion if people are not talking about it, even if that talk is a little insensitive.
- I have very, very mixed feelings. I guess this is how cancer survivors felt when everyone was reading “Six Months to Live.” I’m sorry cancer survivors for treating your life like a good read. However, I don’t know a single person my age that would ever think that cancer is something to joke about or take lightly.
So, I suggest reading the article and possibly seeing the show to form your own poignant opinion.