13 lessons learned from 13 reasons why

3:10 PM

Hey lovelies!

About a week ago, I finished watching 13 Reasons Why, and I'm still reeling. I read the book, before I started high school, and watching the series now that I'm done with school has made me look back and reflect on high school life. I don't often talk about pop culture on my blog, but the series addresses important topics and has some important lessons to be learned.

13 lessons from #13ReasonsWhy

Hannah could be anyone.

The one thing I love about the show, and the book, is that Liberty High (their high school) is represented the same as any other high school in real life. There's friendship drama, boyfriend drama, grades drama, choosing a college drama... Basically, it's all real life problems that all of us face.

Hannah is your typical high school student too: she's juggling a part time job and school. She has a boyfriend and went to parties. Though she was "normal", like many of us, she fell victim to bullying, depression and even sexual harassment. And like many of us, she couldn't speak out about it: she felt alone. So she, literally, faked a smile and tried to move on. 

It's the little things.

There were 13 tapes. 13 reasons why Hannah chose to take her own life, and most of these things are considered "little" things. A quote that I'm constantly reminded of is "No matter how small the raindrops, if it rains long enough, it will flood". This is a huge reminder that the little things add up and that every single one of those drops has an impact.
"You don't know what goes on in anyone's life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person's life, you're not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can't be that precise and selective. When you mess when one part of a person's life, you're messing with their entire life." - Hannah Baker

Learn the warning signs.

Learn the warning signs for suicide and depression, and then pay attention to those around you. Everyone was so focused on Hannah's suicide, that they missed the signs of someone else's impending decision to take their own life. The signs aren't always what you expect, either.

Suicide Warning Signs

  1. Sudden calmness after being in a sad/depressed state 
  2. Drastic changes in appearance/behavior
  3. Dangerous/self harming behavior (which is not always cutting, reckless driving & substance abuse are considered dangerous)
  4. Symptoms of depression

Depression Warning Signs

  1. Lack of enthusiasm/motivation
  2. Irritability/anger
  3. Always being tired
  4. Tearfulness

Sadness isn't always depression.

Woah, plot twist, right? But it's true. Many of us use "Oh my gosh, I feel so depressed about insert problem here", never stopping to think about the fact that depression is a real disease, and that people do suffer from it. Using it in such a casual context downplays it.


Despite what people say, and what you may thing, you don't have to just move on after traumatic events or a bad patch. Recovery is a process, you need to take a deep breath and just work through it. If you need to, reach out for help. Telling an adult is often intimidating, but speaking to an approachable friend is also an option. They may not have solutions, but together you could speak to someone older than you about seeking help.

Be the change...

You know the saying "Be the change you want to see in the world"? It applies to everything in life. The biggest lesson I've learned from the show is that I need to stop and look at myself first. Teasing people about their insecurities isn't cool, neither is standing by watching them being bullied. Yeah, sure, we all sobbed our way through the show, but what does that matter if you're not willing to make a change in the world around you?

Show that you care.

In keeping with the theme of "Being the change", always show you care, whether you care as a friend or as something more. People need to be reminded that they are loved and that they are important. Let's be honest, Clay should have never been on those tapes. But he was, because Hannah cared about him, in the same way he cared about her, but he was too scared to show it. 

Showing genuine interest in someone's life, could be the connection to another person they're looking for, just to stay alive.

Sexual assault is real.

Remember this: sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that happens without your consent. Rape culture has taught us that the victim is to blame, and that their own behavior has caused their assault. This is wrong. Anyone can be a victim, guy or girl. Unless they say "Yes", they're saying no.

Words hurt.

13 Reasons Why emphasizes the impact of verbal/emotional bullying. Hannah was tormented by words from the guys and girls in her school and, as many of us know, it's a lot harder to stop emotional bullying. 

The thing with words is that they tend to swirl in the air after being spoken (or typed) and follow that person everywhere for the rest of their lives. They grow up feeling inadequate and unworthy and those feelings follow them everywhere for the rest of their lives.

If it's not your story to tell, don't tell it.

Rumors, and gossip, are so vicious. That being said, I forget that myself and have spoken about people. Hannah's life was ruined by rumors: the rumors are what fueled some of the most heartbreaking events of anyone's life. She chose to commit suicide because people had taken things that they had heard about her at face value, instead of based on who she actually was. And no one stood up for her because, let's be real, who would want to spoil a good story with the facts?

The truth hurts, but lies are worse.

Everyone that was on one of Hannah's tapes were terrified of the tapes being released, and almost all of them denied Hannah's version of events. The lies that were told (both intentional and omitted) caused damage, but the truth was so much better to hear and put a lot of things into perspective for the characters.

Adults don't always know everything.

Strange, right? Without giving away another spoiler, we grow up thinking that once we reach a certain age we know everything, have all the answers and need to be responsible. When we mess up, though, we feel like we've failed. We need to kill that mindset and remember that we're always growing and always learning. 

Have you watched the show? What do you think?

Mad love,

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