13 Things I Wish “13 Reasons” Had Said to Our Youth Instead


I made myself watch 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. Every episode. I carefully waited and watched and hoped that some beautiful message would crop out of it, but it didn’t. While I can appreciate this show for the increased conversations about mental health, I just can’t agree with some of the messages presented. There’s no spoilers here. These are the 13 things I wish they would have said, the 13 messages I would have preached if I had been given this opportunity to bring light to these issues.

  1. You don’t have to to have a “good reason” to not be okay. Sometimes bad feelings happen seemingly out of nowhere. You do not need to undergo a traumatizing event to feel some pretty heavy emotions. It’s okay to not be okay. You don’t have to justify it. They are your feelings. No one can take them away from you.
  2. Not all adults are oblivious, dumb, and insensitive. It might seem that way sometimes as they struggle to try and understand you and what you’re feeling, you may even have had the unfortunate event of running into an adult much like the counselor in that show. I promise you they aren’t all that way. I promise you they can understand, and can help. Sometimes it might mean searching for the right one. But they exist, I know they do.
  3. You are responsible for your behavior and your behavior alone. You cannot make someone act in a certain way, and you cannot be held responsible for someone else’s actions. I cannot stress this one enough.
  4. Suicide is a permanent choice. You don’t get to come back and watch everyone be sad or regret the things they said or did to you. You won’t be here to see it.
  5. They did a really good job of showing just how difficult time in high school can be, and I honestly think they were trying to preach the message of treating everyone kindly, because you’re never certain of what someone else may be going though. They didn’t outwardly say that though. They didn’t say that as parents and teachers and adults we should be advocating for and demonstrating those behaviors ourselves. Compassion and empathy are important, don’t forget that.
  6. You’re allowed to have bad days. Your bad days cannot be compared to anyone else’s. What you think and feel are your thoughts and emotions, they don’t have to be right or wrong and they certainly don’t need to be compared. It isn’t a competition of who has it “harder” or “worse.”
  7. Not every person in your life is out to get you. There are people, friends, and family members worth trusting. I’m not saying they may not hurt you, intentionally or unintentionally from time to time, because loving and caring for someone always has a bit of risk involved. But I do believe that the reward of feeling loved and heard, far outweighs that risk. And I do believe that each and every one of you deserves someone to help you through this marathon of life.
  8. Taking medication for mental health problems is no different than getting a cast or a set of crutches after breaking a leg, or taking insulin if you’re a diabetic. It’s not weak. You don’t need to just “snap out of” the way that you feel. Sometimes we need some extra help and that’s okay. More than okay.
  9. You will be missed if you leave this Earth. By people you don’t even realize that you’re impacting. But it won’t be because they are afraid of getting in trouble. It won’t be for selfish reasons. You are a part of this world and you change it, just by being here.
  10. Humans, in and of themselves, are flawed. We make mistakes. It’s part of being a human. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to make bad choices sometimes. Do I wish that each and every one of you wouldn’t have to learn hard lessons by getting hurt? Yes. Do I think that’s a realistic way to view the world? No. Do I think there is room for healing, growth, and recovery? Yes. Mistakes are how we learn. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be willing and open to learn from those imperfections.
  11. No one ever has the right to severely physically, mentally or emotionally harm you. You are allowed to speak out about it if they do. You were not “asking for it” and you do not deserve to be treated less than human.
  12. Even when it feels like it, you are not alone. That’s a lie our mind likes to tell us when we feel down and out, and when we feel like the world is against us. But I promise you, you have more people in your corner than you could ever imagine. And they are rooting so hard for you.
  13. Self-injury and suicidal thoughts are hard things to deal with. They aren’t well understood. If I could leave a novel here, I would, but I have a feeling I’ve lost most of you already. If you or someone you love is struggling with those things, or you have concerns that they are struggling with those things, I’m here urging you just to start a conversation. To ask how someone is doing, and actually wait for the answer. Instead of whispering quietly in halls or brushing things under the rug, ask the hard questions. And there are people and places willing to help you, 24/7, with any of these things. Whether it be a hospital, a chat line, or even the text line, it’s worth reaching out for help. I promise you. Please don’t forget that there are resources available to you if you need them. Don’t hesitate to ask. And hang in there, my friends. The world can be a scary place but it is much better when we conquer it together.

A special thank you to guest blogger, Becca Neichter for today’s post.
(Published with permission.)


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