The 9th hidden message found within the 13 Reasons Why main message is going to be short and sweet. But first, remember why I’m writing these in the first place and read my intro to 13 tapes.
Previous Tape: Tape 8: You Have to Do What Everyone Else Wants
Tape 9: It’s Your Fault if Someone Commits Suicide
The 13 Reasons Why main message has this underlying tone that suicide is everyone else’s fault. Hannah even says at one point, “He failed and my fate was sealed.”
No. This is wrong on so many levels.
No one should ever feel like someone else’s suicide or attempt is their fault. You are in no way responsible for someone else’s actions. Even if you did something bad to the person or bullied them (shame on you), you still aren’t to be blamed.
You simply aren’t that powerful. It takes more than a couple of bad situations or thirteen reasons to make someone take their own life. There are a variety of factors that come into play and almost all suicides are a very personal decision. Unless you physically helped that person commit suicide, it isn’t your fault.
No one can cause someone to kill themselves
There are many ways in which you can contribute to someone’s decision to commit suicide and yes, you are at fault for doing something awful. However, no one can cause someone to kill themselves. You may even be outright blamed for it, maybe even by the person who committed suicide but you are never fully responsible for someone committing suicide.
Suicide is never the only option
Suicide may very well feel like the last and/or only option but it never is. So, even if you have been a primary source of pain for someone who committed suicide, you can’t be blamed because suicide was their choice. There are other options that could have taken to address the situation. Even if you were the biggest bully to someone who committed suicide, there’s likely 13 (million) other reasons why that person committed suicide. You are a small factor in the grand scheme of things.
Unfortunately, the 13 Reasons Why main message fails to show this.
You are responsible for doing awful things to someone
On that note, I must clarify that although your actions towards someone are so small in the grand scheme of things, they still matter. They still contributed to someone falling into the deep, dark hole of depression. Your small action may have pushed that person over the edge. So, don’t let this part of the 13 Reasons Why main message fool you into thinking what you did was okay.
It’s wasn’t. If you purposely did something to harm someone else, whether emotionally, mentally or physically, you are to blame for that. But only for that – only for that action.
I believe anyone who bullies another person or purposely causes harm to someone else should have to face the consequences.
People can (and should) be held accountable for contributing to one’s suicide, whether it be from being a bully, being a bad person, doing something awful, evil – whatever – but not for the actions of suicide.
Let’s go back to the 13 Reasons Why message for some examples to put it in perspective. Bryce rapes Hannah and although what he did is absolutely disgusting, he still isn’t to be blamed for her suicide. He can be blamed for raping her and pushing her over the edge but as the 13 Reasons Why main message shows, there were many other things that built up and caused her to commit suicide.
The things you do to people can certainly contribute to one’s death – and shame on you for that. But if you’re struggling because someone who you were mean to took their own life, it’s important to recognize that there is always more to the picture. Your actions probably sucked and you should feel remorse for the evil things you do to someone else, but every suicide is their suicide; their emotions, their decisions, their thoughts and ultimately, their death.
All you can do at this point is learn from the experience. Be a better person; stand up for someone getting bullied, and make sure no one has to suffer the way you’re suffering after someone’s suicide.
If you or someone you know is suffering, please contact the Canadian National Suicide Helpline.