Yeah, I know, it’s another mental health related post. I get it. Maybe that’s what you guys are thinking, or maybe that’s just my misconception and just my worries talking because let’s face it for the umpteenth time: I have some severe anxiety.
Not everyone in my life knows this, but there are some who know my anxiety to the exact extent. I guess what I’m trying to say to you (and to myself ) that I shouldn’t care if I’m sharing too much about myself or too much about my anxiety; this is a very important part of my life and it’s a very real part as I’m trying to deal with it, and life that continues to go on around me.
I should’ve saved this topic as a voiceless rant, but let’s save that post for something more positive and upbeat…
Anyway, things with me personally haven’t been the greatest. I’ve gotten into arguments with those around me, I’m anxious way more than I used to be, and my mental health seems to be taking a detour from the road to recovery. The journey has not been easy for me.
Before I started to get more in deep with therapy, I had a conversation with my mother about the potential use of medication to help ease with my anxiety. Already having a family member on medication for their own personal reasons, I’ve singlehandedly saw how life was before and after the medication for this person. In my opinion, it hasn’t been that bad. I’ve seen improvements here and there and to a certain degree, I see this person being a lot stronger than I am since starting. Again, I could be completely wrong, but on the outside, I saw a difference. But I brought up this situation with my mother telling her the opposite: I didn’t want to take medication for my anxiety.
Before we get into this post, can you believe we are halfway through the year already? I mean technically, July 2nd is the 182nd day out of 365, which is literally half of the year, but you know what I’m getting at. How many of us can say they felt like they did live six months of 2018 already and felt like it’s been six months? I don’t know about you, but it feels like it was just yesterday that I was in Pennsylvania with my family ringing in the new year. It feels like it was just yesterday that my partner and I spent a weekend in Upstate New York for my 24th Birthday. It feels like it was just yesterday I was starting my last semester as a student, beginning to rewrite my entire thesis, and juggle reading poems and books for my two courses. It doesn’t feel like it’s already been 6 months of 2018.
And that’s been a reality for me ever since I turned 18 in 2012; the years have been passing by like it’s been nobody’s business, and when you take time to actually think about it, you sit there in awe and wonder how did you manage to make it this far into life? I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it to see past 18, yet here I am, a 24-year-old woman with two degrees and a whole life ahead of me.
But with time going by so fast, sometimes we take it for granted. Sometimes, we don’t see the consequences of having time move so fast.
We don’t realize that since we’re getting older, the people around us are too. Our friends who used to share their building blocks in Kindergarten are now proud parents of a Kindergartener. Our siblings who we once shared a room with are now living in their own apartments and houses. The parents who were lively and energetic are now older and prefer to relax on their days off. The family members who you use to see every other week are now only available for two holidays a year. And the grandparents aren’t grandparents anymore.
I’m writing this with a lot in my heart, especially since today would be my childhood dog’s birthday. His birthday, in particular, reminds me of all the beings in my life who passed away thus far. In the last four years, I lost two family members and a childhood pet and the process still isn’t completely over. I think back to when they were here and I remember how young I was. I still remember the day my family and I got Pal at the Animal Rescue in Manhattan 17 years ago. When you realize just how much time has passed, you wonder what will happen in the future. Most of the time, it is extremely hard for me to even think what life would be like for me in 10 years. It’s extremely hard for me to even think about what life would be like in 2020.
I apologize for this “Self-Appreciation Saturday” being such a downer, but I know there are people my age, younger and older than me, who feel this way. They may not go into such detail as I do, but adjusting to a life you’re not familiar with after being comfortable all these years is terrifying and difficult.
But, it isn’t impossible.
I guess what I’m trying to say in this post (and here’s where the “self-appreciation” in “Self-Appreciation Saturday” comes in), is that for many of us, our lives have just begun. Whether or not you’re still at home, a career or job or degree, or whether or not you’re about to start a new family with kids of your own, our chapter in adulthood is beginning and we need to embrace it and accept it for what it is. Yeah, I know how scary it is to picture a life without the people you’ve grown to love and trust since the moment you were born, but adulthood comes with that acceptance that every day with those people (or pets) is valuable. This chapter in our lives is all determined by us and us only; we are adults in the real world making real-world decisions; we are a new generation of adults who now get to live life the way we’d like to.
I know I sound ridiculous and I swear I’m not writing this during witching hours, but thinking and feeling this way is such a huge problem within our generation because we’re just so afraid of change within ourselves nowadays. It seems like with everything else in our lives we are more than ready to change something, but let it be our age and how we live life and we all shut down, even if I’m just speaking for myself at this point.
At the end of the day, you and I shouldn’t fear the future. Yeah, the unknown is scary and creepy, but the unknown could be full of opportunities and blessings in which we could miss out if we fear change too much.
Your chapter of life has just begun; write it the way you’d want it to be.
First of all, Happy Pride Month to everyone who celebrates it, supports it, and recognizes the fact that there are more than just one sexual orientation. With the NYC Pride Parade just a day away, I wanted to come on here and remind everyone who may support it or accepts the LGBT+ community that this is not like St. Patrick’s Day where you are fake Irish for a day and then jump back to doing your normal thing once it’s over or you’re fake Mexican and drink shots all night on Cinco De Mayo.
Please, do not act like being LGBT+ is a fashion statement, nor a new trend for you to follow for the month of June. Do not fall victim into consumerism where Fortune 500 companies produce pride related merchandise for you to buy, yet turn their backs on the violence that these same people encounter on a day-to-day basis.
Being Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Asexual, Queer, Non-binary, and everything else that falls in this community isn’t “cool”. It’s a lifestyle that many people for years had to live in the dark about because they were afraid they would be rejected by friends, family, and even worse: be a reason why they get murdered. There are people in their mid 20’s who aren’t out to their family because they are afraid they will be disowned and misunderstood. They are afraid that their sexual orientation will be confused for “being a phase” or for being the effect of a troubled time they are dealing with in their lives. Yes, we as a society have made tremendous progress into being more accepting and respectful to those withing the LGBT+ community, but their fight is far from over.
Please don’t try to “be down” because it “makes you look cool”. Don’t pretend you’re into the same sex because you’re “fed up” with the opposite sex. Don’t lead any LGBT+ person on thinking you’re into them when in reality you’re just looking for a good time. Being LGBT+ isn’t being “kinky” or “sassy” or “freaky.” It’s a lifestyle and a reality for thousands of people.
If you’re a heterosexual and are supportive and acceptive to the LGBT+ community, that’s all that should matter. Be there for your fellow LGBT+ family, friends, co-workers, peers, colleagues, people. Let them know that you respect their life in the way you want them to do for you, and make sure you understand that honesty, love is love, and in the end – that’s all that matters.
Don’t try to be something you’re not because you think you’re not “interesting” or “exotic”. People who identify themselves in the LGBT+ community are regular human beings just like you. They are unique for their own reasons outside of being LGBT+, just like you’re unique for reasons outside of you being heterosexual.
Understand them, don’t mock them for being something you’re not.
Happy Pride, everyone. Have fun, stay safe, and spread the love. ❤ 💛 💚 💙 💜
It’s that time of the month where I get to write my favorite posts on the blog:
June has been a crazy month. It’s been a month of trying to relax and trying to give myself a break, but alas: most of the time I was all over the place. One consistent thing that happened in June was really me just going to therapy once a week and talking about these same feelings (its why a lot of my recent posts are so mental-health related, and surprise, this one is too.)
Since I started therapy, I’ve become a lot more self-aware of my behavior and the way I’ve been feeling. Slowly but surely I am trying to get some control back into my life from my anxiety, I’m trying to feel better after not doing so for a year now, and yes, I’m even trying to get a better understanding of the behaviors I’m not aware of because they are second nature to me.
Therapy sorta taught me that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason is simply “because it just got worse.” I always thought something major and big had to happen in order for me to feel the way that I do, and to a certain point, there was, it just didn’t happen within the last 6 months.
Sometimes, you get “worse” because you’ve been on a downward spiral for years without even knowing it. So, how do you expect those around you to understand what happened all of a sudden?
Recently, I had a discussion with my therapist about something extremely personal that I haven’t spoken about with anyone besides my family and my partner. Sharing it with a person who I’ve only known for a month was scary but when I did, it seemed like things started to connect. Despite being anxious in social situations and with other people, I tend to become extremely anxious in confrontations, arguments, fights, disagreements; whatever it may be, I’m always on edge. I mean, everyone feels this way, it’s normal, but when you instantly feel your heart sink to your stomach, don’t remember what you’re saying, and feel like you want to give up on yourself and on life, then it’s not normal. It’s now a trigger.
Although it coexists with my social anxiety, triggers are most likely linked to trauma. Of course, people assume that trauma is only considered when something horrendous happens to a person like having an almost death experience, you fought in a war, you were sexually assaulted, you were held hostage/kidnapped, things that people will excuse your behavior for because of those things being traumatizing to society.
But what about the things that some people can move forward from, but others can’t? Like bullying? Drug/Alcohol abuse in the household? Losing close people in your life due to fights and arguments? Some of these things are extremely traumatic to some people to the point where whenever they are put into situations similar to these events, they completely shut down. Unable to move. Unable to speak up for themselves. They just sit there and hope that the moment passes as quickly as possible. And when those same people get into the same situations over and over again, they don’t remember how it happened in the past; they just remember going into protective mode and don’t see what actually is happening. That’s called being dissociated. That’s called being traumatized to the point where you don’t have control over your body anymore. That’s called knowing what to do but can’t because you feel like it’s not your body anymore.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s called dissociative amnesia and it’s a scary fucking thing to experience.
I won’t get too deep into it because that’s not what I am seeking therapy for and I’m not fully aware of its symptoms and causes and all that jazz. I’m mentioning it because you have to understand those around you. You have to understand that the people in your group of friends all have stories and secrets that they are burying and that are trying to move past them to live better lives.
Most importantly, you have to understand that people are the way they are for a reason, whether or not you personally know that reason. Whether you’re battling with a mental disorder or not, you are responsible as a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, sibling, parent, classmate, whoever you may be at a certain time, for being respectful and present and understanding to a certain degree.
Personally, I want people to understand that yeah, I’m very successful with my education and yes, I have many passions and talents and I am generally a happy, bubbly person. What that doesn’t mean is that I don’t hurt, I don’t get sad, I don’t feel negative things, and that I don’t deal with triggers on a day-to-day basis. Call it sensitive, but you truly don’t know what you’re doing to a person when you aren’t aware (and don’t care to be aware) of a person’s internal battles with themselves.
This post may be all over the place, but I truly wanted to write this because I am tired of shutting down. I am tired of looking at myself and knowing what to do in situations yet I’m not moving or speaking up. I am tired of being easily triggered by other human beings in negative situations. I am tired of being misunderstood, mislabeled, and looked at as another person who is just always in their feelings and with issues.
You are hurting the people around you when you do that, and the only time people like you will care and finally listen up is when it’s too late, and they aren’t physically here anymore.
Let’s get straight into the post: your insecurities are not a running joke. You shouldn’t let other people take your insecurities as a joke, and you shouldn’t present them as a joke either.
Oh, you thought this was a basic post about bullying, huh? Lemme explain.
Many of us, especially those who have a hard time fitting in, don’t realize that once we “try to fit in” by joking about something we’re actually insecure about, you are opening that door for those around you to do the same.
When I was in middle school, I was constantly bullied for my weight. I was called a whale, a pig, a fatass, a fat bitch, an elephant, and pretty much every other typical name in the book that describes a fat person. A lot of these people who did that were actually my friends at the time, and many of them didn’t understand why a year later, they all got called down to the guidance counselors office with me and my parents.
“I thought it didn’t bother her? She was never bothered by it before!”
That’s because I allowed my insecurities to be a running joke.
When you’re a pre-teen in a middle school that only wanted to fit in, you tend to do whatever it takes to fit in. I was always considered overweight, and when boys and other girls used to tease me for being that, I engaged in it. I made it seem like it didn’t bother me and at times would join in making fun of myself. But after a while, the lines get blurred. People take things too far and before you know it, you’re replacing most of your meals with water; just water.
I tell this story because there are still people in their 20’s who tend to joke about their insecurities just so that they appear to be unbothered by it. They tend to joke around to show others that they are “strong” and “confident” in themselves, but really you’re just hurting yourself. And getting others to think differently about you, or make them stop treating you a certain way, is even more frustrating.
And this goes far beyond just a couple of “fat” jokes.
This is about people who are insecure about many things in their life. Maybe it is about their weight. Maybe it’s the way they sweat on a really hot summer day. Maybe it’s their body odor they can’t control, no matter how much deodorant and body spray they have on them. Maybe it’s the labels you get for having an uncontrollable mental illness. Maybe it’s the way they are programmed due to their own personal experiences, trauma, mantras, mentality, etc.
Whatever the case may be, you shouldn’t be your own bully.
Instead, take your insecurities seriously. Yeah, insecurities are sometimes just all in your head and it really is you that may be thinking too much, but you should own up to your insecurities and make it known that certain things are off-limits.
Personally, for me, my weight is off limits. My anxiety disorder is off-limits. Anything that personally triggers me is off-limits. No, you’re not being hypersensitive, you’re sticking up for yourself. You’re showing others you respect yourself and you demand to be respected in the same way you will respect them. There shouldn’t be any question about that, especially being at the age we are currently in.
So 12-year-old Liz, I wish you didn’t have to feel like you had to put yourself down in order to fit in. I wish you were able to see that you were much better than that. I wish you were able to stick up for yourself without engaging in stupid activities like chasing those boys around and hitting them whenever they teased you. But you taught me a lot on how I should be handling myself and how I should be treated by others. You taught me that those insecurities would find ways to diminish on their own instead of putting them front and center for the world to see. You taught me that my insecurities don’t define me, but they are a working process into finding out who I am.
In the recent weeks, I’ve been on this new path to bettering my mental health now that I don’t have much distraction in my life. For the past year, I’ve been noticing this “downward spiral” of anxiety that kept creeping up on me, and it wasn’t until the past couple of months that I began noticing my anxiety get worse. I finally started to seek out professional help to find ways to overcome this newfound anxiety… well, anxiety that I always had but just recently became out of hand.
In a couple of posts before this one, I mentioned that I got diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In a way, it’s an umbrella term that describes a whole variety of different fears and phobias. When I went to see my psychiatrist for the first time, she ultimately deemed me as having Social Anxiety Disorder. At that point, I went to do some further research on it, and might I tell you, it explains a lot more of my anxiety than I ever thought it would. To be more exact, social anxiety is more than just being “shy” or quiet” in social situations. It’s the incapability to not go out or interact with other people because you get anxious doing it, even with the closest people in your life.
Honestly, it explained a lot of the questions I had in why I was behaving in the way that I was.
Just like depression, anxiety is always misinterpreted as something else that people think is easily curable. People who don’t have SAD may find themselves wanting to stay in instead of going out for reasons that are actual reasons: they are busy, they are tired, or maybe they are just not up for it. People with SAD find themselves staying in because they are already thinking about the hours in advance, worrying that something bad might happen for they might get an anxiety attack in the middle of a social event, even if it’s with your closest friends or even your significant other. People with SAD tend to stay in because it’s more comfortable and safe to be by themselves instead of around other people.
Please understand that Social Anxiety Disorder is more than just being shy and quiet and “socially awkward”. It’s a chronic illness that can be treatable, but it doesn’t go away on its own. Plus, only 5% of the U.S population is actually diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, yet its considered the most common anxiety disorder because so many people who live with it are not diagnosed. The reason for that being is even people with SAD feel like it’s such a ridiculous thing to have and our behavior is ridiculous that we often feel ashamed for being this way.
And extroverts, your introverted friends who may have SAD may feel discouraged because of you.
We are not asking you to be our therapists. We are not asking you to constantly ask us if we are okay if we are out for dinner or at a party. We are not asking you to speak for us in social situations (unless requested) and most importantly, we are not asking you for your unsolicited advice on how to “get over it” in order to live like a “normal” person.
We are asking you to be supportive of us. We are asking you to at least understand the words that come out of our mouths. We are asking you to be okay with the fact that yeah, maybe four months ago we were okay going to that restaurant across the city, but our anxiety has gotten worse since then and the travel to get to that restaurant is a lot of us to handle. We are asking you to be informative on what we had at least at the basic level. No, we are not asking you to know every little thing to do when faced with someone with SAD, we are asking you to at least know what we are going through when we are feeling anxious, and that we are constantly fighting to try to overcome such ridiculous feelings and worries about something that is supposed to be fun. We are asking you to not change who you are to us and change the friendship, we simply just want to feel as if you have our backs while we deal with it. You’re saving us a lot of worries if we absolutely know you will not judge or belittle us for not being able to control our behavior and emotions.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN that you are doing us a favor when you don’t invite us to hang out or to important events in your life just because you think you are doing us a favor or if you think we are going to always decline on your invites. People with SAD are not happy when we don’t have to face social interactions or situations; we hate that or anxiety holds us back from having a good time. In most cases, we want to actually go out and have fun; what human being doesn’t? We want to go out to birthday parties, we want to be around other people and hang out, we want to have a good time in the same way you want to, the difference is our body and our mind circulates the “what if” questions to the point where they will only stop if we don’t go. If you are our friends, we want to feel like you are our friends, so even if we do decline an invitation time to time, know that we appreciate you still are thinking about us.
All in all, we appreciate you and are very thankful to have you in our lives. You balance us out and we look up to you for being so outgoing and unapologetic for being who you are. As different we may be, we are able to connect with you for the qualities that you have, and although you may not understand how we feel about dealing with SAD, we understand that you try your best to be present and available for us while going through something so weird and confusing like SAD.
We value your friendship more than you ever know, even if we have a difficult time showing it. We value your presence in our lives.
I just graduated grad school. I can’t lie, not being a student anymore is an extremely scary thought. I’ve been in school since 1998; literally for 20 years. Many of us don’t realize just how much being a student becomes a part of our personality and how it contributes to our work ethic in the long run. I know that being in school shaped me into the person I am now, and it’s scary knowing I’m going to be living a life now that doesn’t involve me being a student anymore.
I technically have to learn how to be an actual functioning adult.
I give props to those who are older (even younger) than I am and already on paths of being adults in the outside world. Many of you are living in your own places (alone or with your partner), many of you have children you absolutely adore, and many of you are either engaged and planning for a wedding or already married and living happily ever after. It’s amazing that many of you are living life the way you want to live and doing it happily.
I don’t want that type of life for myself.
When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be the person to get married, have kids, live in a big house; y’know live the type of life we thought we were able to have when we were little kids. It wasn’t until recently I thought about it again, especially being in the chapter of life I am currently in. I realized I wanted more than that for myself. I realized that getting married before 30 and having kids is just not my way of a “happy and joyous life”. I realized that just because I don’t want to have kids or get engaged right now doesn’t mean that won’t change in the future. Maybe it will, and maybe it won’t, but I realized I shouldn’t feel ashamed of wanting a much more different life than the majority of people out there.
I never found myself to be the type of woman who constantly cooks, cleans, and takes care of kids. I’ve always known I wanted to be the one who was career-driven and successful and have someone who shared the same work ethic as me. I always knew in some type of way that I was meant to only take care of myself, and not because I’m “selfish”, but I literally don’t know how to take care of anyone in the way I know how to care for myself. I still have mad love, I still care about those who care about me, but I accepted that at this time and age, I do not want to have the family life everyone strives to have.
I want to be the type to travel the world. I want to be the type to be with a person who doesn’t care about getting married anytime soon or having children anytime soon and just cares about the present. I want to be the type of person who enjoys the rest of her 20’s being a bad-ass independent bitch. I want to be the type of person to be with my partner watching Family Guy until 8 at night on a rainy day eating snacks and all and not feel pressured to be talking about marriage or kids. I just want to live my life the way I know I want to live it.
So yeah, I don’t want to settle down. That doesn’t mean I want to jump in and out of situations with random dudes because “I’m too afraid of commitment”. That’s not at all what this post is about and those who share the same life goals as me shouldn’t feel like saying this is a bad thing. I’ve been with my partner for almost 9 years; commitment isn’t something foreign to me. When I mean “settle down”, I mean settling down to finally being ready put your own priorities in the back burner and care for another human being, let alone a child, anytime soon. I barely had time to get to know myself while being in grad school, I just know I want the rest of my 20’s to get to know myself better.
If you’re one of those people who feel pressured into settling down in your 20’s and feel like you have to pop out a kid because your “biological clock is ticking”, let me reassure you that you’re not the only one in this world who feels they physically and emotionally cannot take care of children, let alone their own. It’s okay to feel career-oriented and focused on yourself. It’s okay to want to wait maybe in a couple of years to have children. Maybe in this present day, you feel the way you feel and nothing at this moment is going to change that. There’s nothing wrong not wanting to settle down at this very second. Your decision is yours only and nobody has a say in what you want to do with your life.
Everyone has different paths of life, and it’s okay if yours isn’t like everyone else’s. Let’s be those “boujee aunties who travel the world and gives their nieces and nephews secret money at family gatherings to be the cool as fuck person” together!
Man, I really don’t mean for these titles to be so clickbait like, but I swear: hear me out on this one.
I am one to avoid confrontation with a 10-foot pole. For the past couple of years, I never tried to bring up things or how I feel in situations because I’m always worried about how a person will respond to it. Instead, I try to just ignore my feelings and carry on with my day. While I thought doing so was a selfless act (I mean, I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings by doing so; I’m actually doing the other person a favor of letting it go), I slowly realized just how backward my logic was.
I went to see my therapist for my weekly appointment, and we discussed this concept of being avoidant. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been the type of person to think before they speak (or at least try to). I will always think how the other person would feel if I brought up something that was random and serious all of a sudden. Many of the time, I see myself continuously doing this because I am simply afraid that my feelings or my thoughts will create an even worse situation than I intended to do.
While it is always right to consider how a person might feel when deciding to talk about how you may feel, keeping how you really feel to spare the other person’s feelings isn’t as great of a deed you think it is.
It’s actually worse in retrospect.
Now, I’m not saying tell your friend that her dress is ugly after she told you she feels really good wearing it. I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is that the more you bottle up your emotions for the sake of avoiding conflict and/or discussion, you’re hurting not only yourself, but the person you are interacting with.
Personally, I find it hard to bring up my feelings about conflicting issues because the second I decide I want to bring it up, I constantly think “well, what happens if that person doesn’t take it well and it results in you guys fighting?” Instantly after that, I’m back at keeping it in and ignoring it. Doing so is such a temporary feeling to a long-term issue, and in all honesty, you’re not allowing the other person to have a say, hindering their opportunity to express themselves.
Not every situation will have a good turnout. There will be times where the other person will not agree with what you have to say, and that’s completely fine. Communication in social/personal/romantic relationships is such an important device when hashing out issues you may overall have. Plus, you never know: the other person might feel the same way you do as well.
You never know if you don’t talk.
Talking about your feelings and letting them be known to whoever is around you isn’t an act of being self-centered. Talking about how we are feeling creates honesty and compassion, and it makes you extremely self-aware of who you are and what makes you happy, sad, mad, etc. I’ve learned that anyone who is willing to call you self-centered or selfish because you share how you feel without a filter isn’t really interested in who you are as a person; they are typically just people who want to be around for a good time.
Be unapologetic for what you are feeling. Allow your thoughts to open up a conversation that might be needed in order to move forward with something. Give back what you want from people and listen to what they have to say; you would want the same thing in return.
And the same thought goes with hiding your feelings; you wouldn’t want someone who you care about just hiding how they are feeling when they are clearly upset over something. Also, you would want a chance to talk things out and move forward with whatever you and the other person are going through.
The next time you feel like hiding your true feelings about a situation for the sake of the other person involved, remember that you’re just showing them that it’s okay to shove things under the rug without resolving it, which will only come back up whenever you guys are in another sticky situation.
*This post contains minor spoilers regarding the second season*
As many of you may know, the second season of 13 Reasons Why started streaming on Netflix last Friday. While many people decided not to watch another season of last year’s most controversial show, I decided to do so for many reasons why. (Did you get the pun?)
Anyway, I wanted to see this season because I was now truly invested in all of these characters stories and because this season was not a part of the original season and its novel, it felt a lot like watching someone’s fan-fiction of these characters, and I like that a lot. If you didn’t read my post about the first season last year, you can read that here.
The first season left me with a lot of emotions, and it brought back memories of my own that I thought I was over for years now, and maybe I am over them, but the scar will always leave a reminder that it happened. A lot of things in the first season scarred me; a lot of the things that were depicted in the first season were graphic and in my opinion: necessary. I’m not saying two rape scenes and a suicide one didn’t do anything for me, but it did put me in a place where I first saw the reality of what it was like being in those situations, and many viewers probably haven’t either. Do I think they could’ve gave their viewers a better warning, most definitely, and the show learned from their first mistake and made sure to let viewers know this time around what was expected.
Because now we know what to expect from a show like 13 Reasons Why, we could prepare ourselves better this time around while watching it. Let me tell you I binge-watched the entire first season by pulling an all-nighter, and when I finished the show literally 9 o’clock that morning, I was a complete wreck. The show stuck to me longer than it should’ve, and eventually I actually started to feel a bit of sadness myself because of it. This time around, I made sure I gave myself time to take a break from it every now and then and return once I felt ready. A lot of the discussions between the characters made me really think about myself, and a lot of those times that’s when I had to stop and gather myself before proceeding. This is a really heavy show that I believe not everyone can handle and watch, and that’s perfectly fine. For those who can, make sure you take what is shown and start a conversation about mental health.
With that being said, the second season felt a little bit more laid-back, if I could even call a show like this that word. Despite the bathroom scene in episode 13 from 37:00-39:00 which I forced myself to fast forward because I didn’t want to see literal torture, the show just dealt with a lot of drama and a lot around the case on trial. In a sense, a lot of the situations these teenagers were putting themselves to felt a bit disconnecting and weird in my eyes (I mean, the fact that these kids were missing school left and right to handle their shit without repercussion felt odd to me). Also, the interactions these kids had with their parents and other adults felt a little off as well. It felt like the teenagers weren’t even teenagers, but young adults in the middle of their college careers.
Another thing that bothered me a little about this season is that the acting didn’t hit as hard for me like it did in the first season. But with that being said, a complete standout for me this season was Brandon Flynn’s character, Justin Foley. In season one, absolutely no one was rooting for Justin; many of us (including myself) was happy in a way that Jessica told him to fuck off after what happened at the party. This season, he’s a completely different person and not because he’s a recovering addict, but we see him grow throughout the entire season, and we see just how there’s always two sides to one story. Brandon Flynn did his thing this season and because of his acting, I am completely invested to see where he goes from here on out.
Regarding the story-line of Bryce Walker and Jessica Davis and the incident that happened in the first season, I personally feel like how that plot went about was realistic and connecting. Anyone who is a victim of sexual assault, no matter how minor or severe, feels as if they are stuck. We as viewers saw Jessica think out loud all of the second season, and I really liked that. Reporting sexual assault isn’t the same as telling someone someone stole your lunch money or something; this is opening up about something that personally affects you and the way you’ll live your life, and the fact that half these women who are brave enough to even speak up end up not getting the justice they deserve or get slut-shamed for “being a certain way” or “looking a certain way”. The show makes it known that in the midst of the #MeToo movement that sexual harassment/assault, toxic masculinity, consensual sex, and feminism being about empowering every woman (including intersectional), be added to the list of conversations we need to be having in this day and age.
And now some of my biggest concerns regarding the season:
Let’s put this out there: the bathroom scene in the 13th episode was absolutely unnecessary and felt like a filler to add shock value to a show notorious for having one. The two rape scenes AND the suicide scene in the first season was a lot already, yet the second season really needed to add something so horrific and disturbing that at first placed my judgement on even watching the show. Personally, I feel like the show treated Tyler poorly, and not because of that bathroom scene. The show depicted Tyler as a kid who was quickly spiraling down to the point where he wanted to commit a mass shooting at the high-school. Again, a very sensitive topic this day and age knowing that just this past Friday 10 students were killed at a high-school by a mass shooter. What the show did to Tyler as a character was show us the typical “personality” and “reasons” a student would want to commit mass murder. Tyler was socially awkward, quiet, he kept to himself, he was bullied, he didn’t really have any friends, he was smart, and he was ultimately a loner who tried to be something he was not and couldn’t get out of it because he was already going through so much. While most of the people on Hannah’s tapes stood together into fighting for justice for both Hannah, Jessica, and many of the other girls who Bryce presumably raped, Tyler was excluded from that group, finding other ways to seek justice which ultimately was the most harmful way at it. Because I didn’t watch the two minutes that the bathroom scene was, I don’t know what was Monty’s motive for doing what he did to Tyler, but it felt like kicking someone down when they are already down to the ground. It just felt like there was no drive behind the fact that the show wanted some ammo (not literal) to throw in the fact that Tyler was gonna perform a mass murder.
Regarding that last line, the way that the incident was handled once Tyler got to the school felt very unrealistic. What teenage boy in their right mind is going to stand in front of a semi-automatic rifle, pleading for the shooter to stop what he’s going to do? Stopping someone before shooting up a public school isn’t the answer in how we are going to stop mass shootings in public schools. Doing a goddamn thing about gun control and access to guns is the conversation we need to be having. Clay telling Tyler that “having people talk about it for a week and then forget about it until the next school shooting” was really fucking real, but I just don’t know. The last few minutes of the last episode felt a bit “PSA on an after-school program”-ish for me. I feel like the season should’ve ended with Tyler driving to the school and have the kids who are at the school who know about Tyler’s plan look at each other like “what the fuck are we gonna do?” It would’ve allowed writers to sit down and handle what was gonna happen a year in advance before the next season (which I know there will probably be). The ending they decided on felt too disconnected and out of the entire season, in my opinion.
Other than that, I feel like this season was a good one for people who like the characters and wanted to see these characters beyond the pages depicted in the novel. I really enjoyed getting to know Hannah a bit better and see how she was through other people’s eyes and their interactions with Hannah before her suicide. What the book more so does is depict Hannah as a victim who did nothing wrong besides get involved with the wrong people and because of those said people, she killed herself. What this season introduces to us is a side of Hannah many of us aren’t familiar with (even Clay), but we are reminded that suicide victims are human too: they make mistakes and they are capable of hurting people too.
If you’re invested in these characters, I say watch the season with caution, still. Know whether or not you want to see certain parts. Make sure you take breaks in between episodes. Know that it’s okay that you do not think this show is good for you to watch regarding your own reasons why. It’s just a show trying to start up conversations that many people aren’t strong enough to start.
Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH after its very long hiatus!
With the semester finally over and graduation just a few weeks away, I can finally focus my energy on TNTH and provide some new content for you guys! I’ve missed writing on here for many reasons, and one of them being that I have so much to share with you guys. It feels good to be back.
With that being said, I wanted to share something that I mentioned a while back on here about mental health and not being ashamed to ask for help if you need it. I’ve been going to therapy for the past month.
The act of going to therapy gives me anxiety every time I have to get up and go, and only because I know I have to go and talk about things that I’m uncomfortable with. I’m still in the early stages of therapy so I’m very much still trying to build a relationship with my therapist, but I know once I get into the swing of things, that anxiety will go away. In my first session, I actually learned a lot about myself that I couldn’t see due to my anxiety. Everything I was concerned about, my therapist told me that it was impressive of me managing in the way that I do, and that my best qualities are the ones I’m not taking consideration for. For example, I told her that I’m a bit of a “control freak” because I tend to find comfort in having every project in my life outlined, and she told me that it’s not being controlling, but organized. The point is that I have to start seeing things from a positive perspective; not everything I do/am is negative.
While there are so many other things I’ve discussed with my therapist, I walked out of the session feeling lighter and more… at ease if that makes sense. Like I felt like I didn’t have anything bothering me or causing me stress on my walk home, and it felt pretty good. I didn’t feel ashamed of going to someone’s office to talk about my issues instead of just talking to a friend, I felt like I had a better understanding (and motivation) to start seeing things differently and applying the things my therapist told me into action.
In modern day society, the conversation about mental health is becoming one that many more of us are joining. People deem mental health was “crazy” and “ill” when really half of the time that’s never truly the outcome. Mental health is just as important as physical health because you should always seek help no matter what type of pain you are in. The misconception of mental health and therapy has discouraged a lot of people to stray away from it; in a recent study by Refinery 29, more than half of Black and Hispanic Americans are more than likely to never seek therapy in their lifetime due to the stigma it carries. Therapy isn’t this place where they hold you against your will if you say something like “I feel sad all the time”, therapy is a just a place provided for you to talk out the things that are bothering you, and hopefully get unfiltered advice and techniques to overcome those issues.
Many people my age go to therapy because the struggle of living in a city like NYC while juggling college and jobs is a lot. Times aren’t how they were when our parents were our age, and sometimes as a 20-something young adult, we constantly feel burned-out and stuck in the position we are in. Therapy, for many of us, is just a place where we could get extra help and guidance in order to move forward with our lives. It’s not this place where you have to be deemed as “insane” or “crazy”, and for the love of the god you believe in, it is nothing like the depiction that television and movies make it out to be. It’s not talking about zombies eating your cereal in your dreams and asking your therapist what it could possibly mean. It’s not you talking for an hour straight while the only words your therapist say are “and how does that make you feel?” It’s not a padded room with 3 security guards holding a stray jacket waiting for you to say something crazy. It’s not that different from visiting your normal doctor, to be honest.
If you’re thinking of reaching out and asking for help from your primary care doctor, please don’t feel ashamed of doing so. There are thousands of people like you who seek therapy possibly for reasons related to yours. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to seek out help and talk about things that make you uncomfortable, but one thing my therapist told me that I’ll probably always apply to is that you have to accept that it’s okay to be uncomfortable, because it will get comfortable all in time.
Therapy is just the first step into bettering yourself, and the biggest step to take in the process. After that, it gets better.