I am barely half-way through the new Netflix show ’13 Reasons Why’ and I cannot breathe. The television show depicts the life of Hannah Baker and how the world fell upon her. After taking her own life, she leaves a series of tapes detailing the reasons for her death. They all relate to the people who have hurt her and the situations that she could not escape. It is the first true depiction of suicide I have seen in mainstream media and the first that has been able to capture my grief.
My Dad killed himself nearly eight years ago. This isn’t news to the people who know me and to the people who read this blog, this isn’t news to you either. Since his death, I have made an effort to publicise his actions. I make the effort because I know that the narrative of his life is the narrative of so many others and I hope that by hearing his story, people will want to change their story. I’m not sure if I have been successful in my plight but I continue with it because it’s the only thing that gives his death purpose.
‘13 Reasons Why’ has made me realise my wrongdoing. It seems that suicide, like all things, is a two-sided story and maybe pubescent naivety has led to tell only one story.
For so long, I thought that he selfishly killed himself for his own reasons and that was that. I was naive. We are all naive. Why can’t we consider that he killed himself because of this world that we have all created? That’s a foolish question. I know the answer. Nobody is willing to see what I now see because nobody wants to take responsibility… but maybe we should. Maybe we should take responsibility for the world we live in. He was dragged through the kind of pain that could have been avoided. His childhood was a compilation of trauma and nobody was able to tend to that trauma. Some even encouraged it and thus he grew into a sad and angry man. My point is… we can’t keep on thinking that his death was his and his only. It might be easier to think that but it’s not right and contributing to a world that is not right is what makes people want to kill themselves in the first place.
I do not think we are directly responsible for another’s decision to die. We cannot be blamed when someone hangs themselves from the ceiling, slits their wrists and uncovers bone, takes one too many pills or throws themselves from a building. Nevertheless, we all take part in constructing the world people exist in and furthermore, the world some people decide they can’t exist in. Maybe then, we need to stop pitying the dead and instead start pitying the living, because we are the ones living in the kind of world that makes people want to become the dead.