My 13 Reasons Why

I didn’t know whether to write this post. I didn’t want it to seem like I was ‘cashing in’ on the recent popularity of a tv show. I didn’t want people to judge me or to think I was playing on this in any way. 

The truth is, up until now only two people have known how close I have come to doing what the show’s main character Hannah did. 

And maybe this post will be another that gets put out there and then gets lost in cyber space. But maybe it will help one other person to feel that they aren’t alone in feeling this way, that there’s other people out there suffering in silence, feeling like there’s no other way out. There is, by the way, you just have to sometimes fight really fucking hard to find it. 

*Warning – this post may contain triggers for some people* 

For anyone who hasn’t watched the show and therefore has no clue of what I’m going on about, I’ll fill you in on the basic premise (I’ll try not to include spoilers for those who want to watch) – a young girl commits suicide and leaves behind a collection of cassette tapes with the reasons why she did it. 

There are thirteen reasons why Hannah felt the way she did, why she did what she did. And here are mine. 

1. I was bullied. A lot. Through middle and secondary school. By the girls I called my friends. These were two separate groups of girls in two separate schools and, although the bullying changed slightly between them, there was a recurring theme. I would be their friend when they wanted me to be, and when they felt like it they’d mess with me for their own amusement. I would play along like I was in on it, like I wasn’t the victim, like I was ok with it. But I wasn’t. It hurt. It chipped away at my self confidence, my self esteem, and although I never told anyone about it, it has always been there, deep down, making me feel like shit. The girls in middle school used to play a game where they threw me in a bush. That is not ok. 

2. I was abused as a child. I’m not going to go into details but it happened. It was awful. And it affected the rest of my life.

3. I hate myself. I mentioned low self esteem. I have zero. I literally hate looking at myself in a mirror. You know when you have to, to clean your teeth or when you’re having your hair done in the hairdressers. I look away. I don’t like the way I look. I sometimes fake it, it’s easier that way after all, but I really don’t like the person staring back at me. I don’t like my face, I don’t like my body, I don’t like my hair. I don’t like me. 

4. I’ve made mistakes. Big ones. Ones that have shaped not only my own life, but the life of my kids, and sometimes it kills me to think that things I have done may have negatively impacted others. I try and live with no regrets, I try so hard I even got it tattooed on my foot, but I still have regrets, huge ones. I worry that I’m not a good mum, and it kills me to think that my children will think that of me. 

5. I don’t know what I want in life. I’m nearly 30, I’m not a teenager anymore who can get away with being unsure of their life goals. I feel like I’ve wasted so much time not knowing what I really want, and now time is running out and I still don’t know. Other people have such strong ambition and drive and I just don’t know. I just don’t. 

6. I’ve hurt people. I’m not a nice person. I’ve cheated on people, I’ve been a bad friend. I’ve lost friendships and blamed the other person, but sometimes I know it’s because I’ve not been good enough. I have a strong temper, I’m stubborn, and I have no patience. I snap easily and forgive very slowly. I’m a hard person to be around. 

7. I’ve let men hurt me, and I’ve wanted them to. Because I don’t feel worthy of love, of affection, and it’s easier for men to treat me like shit than for them to genuinely want to be with me. I’ve actively sought out men who will hurt me, who will leave me, cheat on me. And I’ve let them use me, I’ve let them sexually use me, I’ve done things I haven’t really been comfortable doing just so they liked me enough to keep doing those things with me a little longer. I’ve gone back to people who have treated me badly, I’ve stayed with people just because it was easier than to be honest with them and with myself. 

8. I’ve had a bad relationship with my dad. When I was younger I used to cry when I had to go to his house because I missed my mum. And eventually he gave up on me and stopped having me visit. It took years to get over it, and even now I don’t feel we are that close, although we have started rebuilding our relationship in the past few years, which gives me hope. I just feel like I’ve disappointed him with the choices I’ve made in life, with the things that I’ve done and I wish things were different. 

9. I struggle. I struggle with making decisions. I struggle with being a mum to three children. I struggle to keep on top of things, to be the person I feel I need to be. I struggle with depression, with the thoughts in my head, with keeping going, with every single aspect of life. I feel so useless with how often I struggle that I try and hide it, and struggle internally even more. 

10. I feel guilt. Guilt that I put Ed through things that I myself wouldn’t put up with. That I still depend so heavily on my mum because I still feel like a teenager inside. That my mental health makes me act in ways that are childlike, and that I put these two people through so much, when they themselves have lives to lead as well. 

11. I feel like there’s no escape. Sometimes I just want to get out, and getting out of the house isn’t enough, I need to get out of the world, out of life for just a little while, so I can recoup, so that I can cope with the emotions swirling around my head. 

12. I feel judged. Ed says I shouldn’t care what other people think. But I do. I care so much. I care that people probably judge me for the life decisions I’ve made, for the fact that I have 3 kids by 3 different dads, that I’m going into my second marriage age 28, that I have been on benefits, and I’ve cheated on people. I’ve even hesitated to publish this post because of what people will think of me, of what people might say. 

13. I don’t feel liked. I’ve lost a fair few friends over the years, some are people I don’t miss, but some I do, very much. I still have some friends, some acquaintances, but the truth is, whilst planning my wedding and my hen celebrations this year it struck me how much I doubt people’s feelings towards me. I often feel like I’m trying too hard, that I make a fool out of myself when I’m with a group of people, that secretly they all laugh about me behind my back. I say things and dwell on them for ages afterwards, worrying if I shouldn’t have said it, if people don’t like me for the things I do or say, that people avoid me, avoid spending time with me. Even my close friends I feel a burden to. I’ve watched shows like friends, desperate housewives and sex and the city in the past and I’ve longed to have close female friendships like I see in those shows. Even in real life I see people who are still close with friends from school, who catch up regularly with people they’ve known for years, and I wonder if the problem is me, maybe I really am that unlikeable. 

I lay in bed tonight with Ed watching the final 3 episodes of 13 Reasons Why and throughout the final episode I cried uncontrollably. It shook me to my core. Because when Hannah took her own life, when she gave up, I saw myself and I saw the people I love reacting as Hannah’s loved ones did. And it broke me, to think that my actions could hurt the people I love so much. 

I’m coping, at the moment, really I am, even if I don’t sound like it, but this programme has shown how easily little things build up in a person’s life, and how it can feel there’s no other option. But there is, there always, always is, and not only am I going to remind myself that, I want to work at reminding others of that too. I said I didn’t feel like I have a purpose in life, maybe my purpose is to make others find their purpose? I’m going to work on that. Watch this space. 

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6 thoughts on “My 13 Reasons Why

  1. Please no your never a burden and nobody ever laughs at you. I think most people probably admire you, I could never do the things you do. Whilst I know that probably doesn’t make you feel better just know you are good enough xxx

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  2. Very honest Em. You are so brave to write about your feelings and I am sure sharing them really helps you and others who are feeling the same way. It makes me sad that you don’t think you are beautiful. Being a photographer I can honestly say you are one of the easiest people I have photographed because the camera loves you – not only your physical self and the way you look but because of your personality and inner self really shine through in photos. You are a stunning person inside and out xxx

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