I don’t need “13 Reasons Why” I was suicidally triggered
Trigger Warning: suicide content
Last night, after discussing the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” I became suicidally triggered. I never saw the show. But I’d read the book several years ago. I even remembered the basic elements of the book. Girl kills self, male classmate finds 13 tapes, each explaining the reasons that led to her killing herself. The book was a non-issue for me. I barely remember it. To be honest, I thought the book was forgettable. It didn’t even stick with me. I stuck it in the far recesses of my mind and moved on with my life.
Now, it’s a show. And from what I understand, it graphically depicts rape and suicide. So graphic, that normal parents have said they can’t fully get through the scenes and that mental health professionals have essentially called it a visual guidebook for what to do.
I needed to process these feelings. I talked to someone who I didn’t know was busy. When I needed to change the conversation to lighter things because what I had discussed was just too heavy, she let me know that she was very busy and could no longer continue the conversation. I tried reaching out to her to let her know that I was upset, but I think she was still too busy to understand or, perhaps, really care. But changing the conversation was part of processing my feelings too. I needed to shift the conversation to a lighter subject after focusing on something so heavy.
So after being left alone with my thoughts on suicide, I dwelled on it. The intrusive thoughts came. I wrapped myself in my blanket, stared at the wall, and zoned out. I began to feel an invisible noose wrapping itself around my neck, slowly tightening. My husband came into the room with my son to say goodnight. My son climbed all over me to say goodnight. He gave me hugs and kisses. I was unresponsive. My husband immediately knew something was wrong.
He put my son to bed, grabbed a chair, and sat next to me. Tears fell down my face. My mind, for the first time in a long time, was forming a plan to carry out my death. I knew how I could do it using exactly which materials. My husband prodded me about my thoughts: Are they bad?
“How bad are they?”
“Intrusive thoughts or are you thinking of acting on them?”
I eventually revealed my plan. It included the lumbar spine with a belt around my waist that I used for sleeping. I wasn’t ready to give it up. The invisible noose was still very tight around my neck, and I wanted to finish the job.
Nothing else mattered at that moment. Not my job. Not my family. Not my friends. Not Facebook. Not Twitter. Not money. Not even God. Just death and the relief that it would bring.
This is what “13 Reasons Why” does: it glorifies suicide. I hadn’t even watched it and it had accomplished its goal of triggering me into a suicidal tailspin.
Eventually I gave up the lumbar spine belt. I had my husband shadow me briefly as a precaution. He stayed with me as I fell asleep. The invisible noose around my neck loosened. It hasn’t gone away, even now, but it’s very slack and I have ample room to breathe.
I don’t need “13 Reasons Why” I won’t watch this Netflix series. Discussing it and then having it trigger me into a suicidal episode was enough.