There’s been a lot of talk about this TV series that is exclusive to Netflix; the only thing I knew about it was the story was about finding out the truth behind a girl’s complex suicide. Knowing that it was likely to touch upon topics surrounding Mental Health issues and a lot of other subjects that are considered taboo by the mainstream media, it peaked my interest.
Before I continue this post, I will say now that this article will contain spoiler alerts and topics that may trigger unwanted memories and emotions.
I have just watched the last episode after spending the last few days watching this gripping series and I must say a few times the themes got to me; the insecurities I have were brought to the surface and the memories of thinking people would be better off without me came back to haunt my mind.
This show also gave me the feeling of thankfulness that I opened up and asked for much needed help when I did two years ago; if I kept it quiet, I don’t think I’d be here now, I wouldn’t be in the best place of my life and wouldn’t be looking towards a promising future.
Anyways about the show itself; it tells the story of the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s suicide that her friend Clay Jensen slowly finds out the truth behind it.
This is a very well made series that was brilliantly filmed. There is footage of present moments of the aftermath of the suicide that tells Clay’s story into discovering the truth behind his friend’s suicide. These were mixed with flashbacks depicting Hannah’s downward spiral that included rape, anxiety, PTSD and eventually suicide.
The eventual scene with her suicide was extremely hard to watch; I had been preparing myself to watch what I knew what was going to be a graphic scene that would trigger a lot of memories and emotions, I was completely shaking when it was done.
It was shocking and intense; you feel the pain along with her as by this point as she feels alone, in pain, deflated, weak and a burden. Watching the documentary afterwards, psychologists and producers explain that it’s important to show that suicide isn’t a pretty or easy way out, the pain still remains for people around them such as parents, family, friends etc.
A couple of other issues it covers is bullying and sexual assault.
There is the character Bryce Walker; popular, outgoing and a high profile student of the school. He is captain of the football team. He heavily abuses his power and position as he sexually assaults Jessica Davis, a former friend of Hannah’s, whilst her boyfriend looks away and lets it happen. Bryce also rapes Hannah in his hot tub. The camera focuses on both of the girls as these rape scenes happen; to show the discomfort, pain and shame the girls are experiencing in this moment. That part that was completely angered me was the way Bryce normalises his actions and shows no remorse. As far as he’s concerned; Jessica, the girlfriend of Bryce’s best friend and fellow team mate Justin Foley, is meant to be shared amongst his friends, and Hannah was asking for it. I don’t often feel dislike for a fictional character but in Bryce Walker I did, the awful thing is there are people like Bryce out there in the real world.
Bullying I have been on the receiving end of and it can still affect you years later; after being made to feel you aren’t good enough in your younger years, all the pressure to look a certain way and be someone that seems impossibly hard to achieve.
Throughout the series Hannah is constantly bullied and put down by those peers she at first thinks are her friends. In this day and age, bullying doesn’t stop when the school bell rings; it carries on via the Internet, particularly on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. It never goes away and you feel trapped.
It is a great watch that does provide awareness on the taboo subjects of suicide and rape, also the huge impact that bullying amongst your peers can have.
If you are feeling alone or worried about anything, if you feel like you have nowhere to turn, please talk to someone you trust. Whether it’d be a family member, your significant other, a friend, a work colleague; give it a try, I was afraid my family wouldn’t listen to me when I first opened up but they surprised me, they took my concerns seriously and booked an appointment for me to see my GP.
Here’s some services that you can turn to if you need help opening up:
Don’t suffer in silence and let’s be kinder to each other.