‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’
I do not really write reviews professionally but this TV series which I have just finished today recalled so many past experiences. I can identify to it at a personal level and now that I am a parent – I would recommend it to every concerned parent to watch it as well.
Let’s talk about demographics, according to International Suicide Statistics, over one million die by suicide worldwide each year. On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world. In the Philippines, seven Filipinos commit suicide everyday. This is a troubling rate stating that one person commits suicide every three and a half hour.
This issue is very close to my heart because I have attempted and thought about committing suicide when I was in my teens. I was a bubbly person on the outside, a stellar student and have bunch of friends. But there are demons in my head when I am alone. I was experiencing some troubles with my family during that time and I am so fed up with it that I want my misery to end. For some reason, even if other people see my problem as ‘not that bad’- for me it was magnanimous. I don’t think that anybody could fully understand what I was going through and I just decided to shut them out. I have went through faintly slashing the surface of my arm with a blade for several times just to see if I could take it. I would play so many scenarios in my head on how to end my life. I did not even thought about leaving a suicide note because I want my death to be mysterious.
I very well know what the demons in my head meant. I was just too afraid to admit it and confide to my friends that I was depressed. Part of the reason that I don’t want others to know was because I don’t want to appear fragile and weak. Above all, I don’t want others to think that I am crazy. I was so afraid of the stigma that it has almost cost me my life.
Why am I still here? Because I took on a pursuit of understanding myself. Took a course in Psychology and later realized that being depressed is not being Crazy . I have channeled my demons through writing, reading, listening to music and helping others. My subjects in counseling were my favorites. I learned to listen and I listened more. It felt great. The more I listen to the miseries of others, the more I read their stories and interact with them online – the more awareness I get from my condition. ‘Misery love company’, stayed true to me in a good way. I have become an empath and I like to touch lives. This is my life’s purpose.
Going back to my reaction: all the series of unfortunate events in Hannah Baker’s life in the TV series has just made it too unrealistic. No one in real life could be that unfortunate. But all of the issues are real. Being called a slut because of an imperfectly timed shot, mean girls, mean jocks, date-rape, cyberbullying, stalkers, petty crimes, bad rumors…. Being a teen is a hard life. If I would be given a chance to re-live it again. Hell no, I will pass that ‘opportunity’. Just so glad to be over with it. So what is the issue now?
We have put emphasis on physical health and have strongly incorporated it in our children’s school curriculum and yet so little is being done in boosting mental health of individuals. Right now is the best time to talk about depression. Right now is the best time to truly listen with a heart.
If you have young kids: shower them with love, support, warmth and understanding. While I was conquering my demons, those were some of my realizations. I promised to myself that if I become a parent, I would do things differently. I stayed to that promise now that I have three kids.
Do not shelter your kids, instead expose them to the truths of the bitter world but be there for them. Help them understand that even if the world is cruel there is a whole lot of things to be grateful with. Your hugs and kisses may mean so little now but they will need all the happy memories when they grow up. Create a relationship where you are open to listen to even the silliest stuff that they like to talk to you about.