I finally found some time in my ridiculous schedule to watch the 2nd season of 13 Reasons Why. If you haven’t watched the 1st season and are interested in doing so; don’t continue to read this blog.
It is no secret I am a fan of the series, I discussed season 1 on The Epiphany Radio show last year and discussed that all signs are not easy to see as a checklist. I felt this series portrayed what truly happens with parents and their teens and how the signs can be hard to miss or sometimes ignored. So here we are season 2 where the aftermath of Hannah’s death is happening and how it is affecting everyone who knew of her.
Before I get into the things I loved about season 2, I do want to give some warnings about the season.
- This season was EXTREMELY graphic! If you thought the things you saw in season 1 was out there, you ain’t ready for season 2. I won’t go into details about the graphic scenes but just be warned in case you aren’t a fan of those types of situations.
- The language in season 2 is explicit. Yes, they cussed in season 1 but in season 2 every other word is F***, S***, etc. When it comes to younger people watching it, I would recommend a parent watching with them due to language and the content.
- The season can be emotionally draining. Yes, people are binge watching but it you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, emotionally distraught, or triggered it may be best to stop watching for the day or maybe period.
Here are the things I loved about season 2:
1. Alex’s recovery of his suicide attempt
According to the American Association of Suicidology, the #1 method of suicide is firearms as well as the 2nd leading cause of death for young adults ages 15-24 is suicide. Alex in the first season shot himself in the head to end his life but ended up surviving. In this season we see him struggling to walk as he is weaker on the side of this body where he shot himself, memory loss, and other medical issues.
We talk about when someone dies by suicide, but we rarely address those who survived a suicide attempt and how building their life back up is extremely difficult. Alex is having muscle aches and weakness pains to having erectile dysfunction; supporting someone with a similar situation is crucial because it can be another reason for them to try to attempt once more. Guilt and regret for not being successful is often brought up which is why therapy and support is extremely important. People assume gunshot to the head is a guaranteed way to end your life; but many end up surviving and dealing with the consequences for the rest of their life.
2. How suicide affects people after it happens
Everyone is dealing with the loss on Hannah and having to testify in court about the roles they played in her suicide. Most of the characters in this season have mentioned about thoughts of taking their life after her death due to thoughts of sadness, guilt, confusion, and pain. Suicide prevention awareness teaches us that those who are survivors of someone who died by suicide have a higher risk of attempting as well. Th series does an amazing job highlighting how not only the teens are affected by Hannah’s death but also how the parents are trying to cope and understand their teen as well. None of this is easy on anyone; yes, there are resources and suggestions on how to handle these situations, but it never becomes real until it happens to you. People who often attempt suicide think about the pain that never goes away for them but not how it affects those around them.
Zach Dempsey storyline is a perfect example on how avoiding emotional talk or discussing problems with your teens can have severe consequences. Zach’s father passed away in season 1 and him and his mother never grieved or discussed how his death affected either one of them. With losing his father as well as Hannah, he told his mother after his testimony in court he thought about suicide as well. His mother instead of consoling him and talking with him, she blamed the thoughts and feelings on Hannah and her influence of dying by suicide; perfect case of denial which is dangerous.
This often occurs in minority households; emotions and problems aren’t discussed because they don’t matter. In the Black community, we were tough life is hard so why complain about it. THIS IS NOT OKAY! Not having conversations about how we are feeling emotionally can lead to suicide! We are human beings made up with emotions; life can still be hard but at least we have an outlet to talk about these things and not having to keep them inside.
4. The process of recovery from sexual assault
Jessica’s story is a powerful one; from the rape to the flashbacks of the rape is an eye opener. Cases of sexual assault for younger adults is higher than we would like to think; according to RAINN, girls are 4 times more likely to be a victim of a sexual assault. Society portrays women as being promiscuous or whores which makes women not want to report sexual assault because they believe no one will believe them. Jessica is having flashbacks of the rape to where anytime she sees or touches her underwear it’s a trigger for a panic attack. We must be mindful of how sexual trauma and be a trigger for suicide ideation or other concerns. It’s important to have the dialogue about sex with your children and how anything outside of the limits of what they don’t want to do is not okay, as well as if anyone hurt them they can come to you. Being a victim causes enough self-guilt but not have anyone supporting you during the healing process.
5. THE conversation about mental diagnoses
Skye battled with self-harming herself for years; it took a scary cutting situation for her to finally get the help she needs. When Clay comes to visit her at the residential treatment center, she disclosed she was bipolar and she is experimenting with medications to see what works for her. I loved the conversation she had with Clay about her manic episodes and how she is accepting of her diagnosis as well as giving examples about how her behaviors were abnormal. In my opinion this ties into the whole Kayne West situation but that will be addressed in another post ?. Telling people about your mental illness can be liberating and terrifying because you don’t know how it is going to be received. I think it is important to acknowledge and celebrate those who decide to talk about their struggles because it is an everyday battle. The people who are open about their struggles decrease the stigmas around mental illnesses.
13 Reasons Why is no cake walk by any means which means everyone can’t watch it. There are some very graphic situations that happen in this series that can be triggering to those who battle with suicidal ideation, surviving suicidal attempts, and victims of sexual assault. I do not recommend this series to those who are currently battling or new into their recovery/healing.
I do believe parents should watch this with their children due to the graphic situations because they can be extremely difficult to watch. Also, this is a good time to have important dialogue about what is being watched and reinforcing to them they can always talk to you about anything they experience.