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[Trigger] "13 Reasons Why"
Another blog post from Stacy Freedenthal where she delves into the discussion of "contagion" among those considering suicide.

I started to read 13 Reasons Why but didn't make it through the first book, there is just something wrong with the whole concept of a suicide victim trying to make all her victimizers suffer for her suicide. Oh, I completely understand that others can affect the way we feel; I can even understand wanting to "get even" with them for the things they've done or said but I'm sadistic enough that I want to see them suffer the way they made me suffer.

Have any of you read / seen the series - what are your comments about it??
We live by each other and for each other. Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.
-- Helen Keller
This is such a difficult topic. I have not read the book, but I did binge-watch the series once it came out, which ended up being a poor choice. I was triggered throughout but felt compelled to finish it. I am saddened, appalled, and enraged that such a show came out. Although the producers of the show were under the impression that they did their civic duty ("raised mental illness awareness" and "made it easier for people with mental illness to talk about it"-- not actual quotes), I think they may have unleashed something disastrous. Dan Reidinberg, a psychologist, reportedly told Netflix not to release the show, but of course, profit trumps lives, right?

Throughout the show, they showed scenes of sexual assault, and thinking about victims of sexual assault, that in itself might be triggering. PTSD is a very real condition. To their credit, they did provide trigger warnings at the beginning of the show, but these did not say that a rape or a suicide scene was going to take place. The idea is that depicting this content was going to help victims talk about their experiences. What's the problem with this? Well, the show sends out the message that you can trust no one and that if you reach out for help, you will not be listened to. The main character tried reaching out for help, but her guidance counselor simply told her to move on.

So, that's one of the main points of the show: you can trust no one, and everyone is out to get you. Every person to whom the protagonist reached out for help ended up betraying her. And so, she blames those people for her death and creates this vengeful game. That's one thing I dislike about the show. It glorifies suicide and portrays it as a game, and it basically says that reaching out for help is useless. Then they showed the suicide scene on the show.

When I watched that scene, it brought back my old suicidal ideation, which had been laying low. I'm part of a Facebook group for alumni of the residential treatment center I went to, and this scene triggered many of them as well. I'm just thinking about the younger population; the target audience of this show. Many of them have not had the opportunity to receive treatment. Think of the damage that might inflict.

Once I finished watching the show, I shared Freedenthal's same fears of contagion. I became worried that there would be individuals who would mirror this process and commit suicide. I have not really heard anything on the news about it, but I think they don't publicize suicides in fear of people committing suicide in the same manner. I'm very upset that this show made it out. It is wrong on various different levels.
“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.” Friedrich Nietzsche

This, too, shall pass.

I haven't watched the show for fear of triggers - and it sounds from your description JL that I made a good choice. I didn't know it was based on a book, Dragon! I don't think I will be reading that either.

I have a 'stick my head in the sand' mentality when it comes to suicide in the media - we change the channel if something comes up on TV that could trigger me, I don't read fiction that deals with suicide. I even find reading memoirs of people who have attempted suicide difficult (I'm particularly thinking of a failed attempt to read Kay Redfield Jamieson's autobiography - a well respected psychiatrist who also has bipolar). I'm not sure that's the healthiest choice, but it works for me.
When it seems all is forsaken
Listen to me now
You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness will show you the light.

~ The Light, Disturbed
Ever since I finished this show, I've been having frequent dreams/nightmares where either I'm about to commit suicide or someone else is/has. It doesn't affect me as much at first, but later on the day, when I remember my dreams, it acts as a trigger. I remember the suicide scene, start thinking about/contemplating suicide. I hope the nightmares go away at some point. And I really hope others aren't finding themselves with this problem

I'm glad you haven't watched it, Abzilla!
“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.” Friedrich Nietzsche

This, too, shall pass.


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