Storms rolled into our little town yesterday.  The weather brought on a migraine and I spent most of my day sleeping it off.  After I awoke I decided to watch the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.  I was skeptical of the show after having experienced two suicides in my family within mere months of each other. Could a show really explain or make you feel what leads to a decision like that?  Could a show really demonstrate the tragic grief left behind after such an act?  I read all the articles from schools and concerned parents that said it was intense, graphic, and people shouldn’t watch if they are fragile.  I am here writing this today to tell all of you nay-sayers that you are part of the problem.  Not talking about it is the problem.  Not talking is how we end up here grieving the loss of a loved one, friend, or acquaintance to suicide.  The show depicts the 13 reasons why one girl chose to take her own life.  I can honestly say there were many more reasons than that.  A series of small reasons building into an overwhelming tidal wave that takes a person under.  A tidal wave that makes death seem like a comfort;  a wave of solace in a never ending sea of reasons why.  We blame each other.  We blame the dead person. We blame ourselves. We blame the reasons.  Yet, we never really talk about it.  Is it the stigma?  Is it because we know that just like the people receiving the tapes in the show that maybe we are all just a part of the problem.  We isolate each other.   We spread lies and hate, even the ones that pretend to be such religious fanatics participate in their own way.  We worry more about what people think of us than what we think of ourselves. We mask our depression behind fake smiles and hollow “I’m fine”‘s. We are zombies walking around dead and rotting inside. I say we, because I am guilty too.

My brother came to me a week before his death.  I knew something was wrong.  I can’t explain the bond we had to you, because I still don’t understand it to this day. I had let my stupid ego keep me from trying again and again to be there for him.  We hadn’t spoken in months before that night when he came to me in tears over his reasons why.  I went after the girl that lived with him, because I was angry and wanted to blame her for the problems he was having.  I was part of the problem though too.  We all are.   You see instead of just letting him know that he wasn’t alone and that sometimes its ok to not be ok.  I got really focused on the reasons and trying to fix them.  Truth is there were too many.  Some reasons  I couldn’t fix even if I wanted to.   He was my brother, but also a stranger at that time.  I was so worried about my own issues for so long that I missed the warning signs.  They are clear as day in hindsight.  My brother walked away from his fiance of 8 years for some girl he worked with that he barely knew.  He was stealing from work, selling drugs, binge drinking,  not paying his bills,  and always changing his appearance.  He went from loving his fiance to driving 4 hours to cheat on her with some girl.  Instead of confronting the problem head on, I rescued Shelby.  Turns out she didn’t need me as badly as he did.  He needed a life line.  Someone to reach out into that dark stormy sea and grab his hand.   He came to me and told me everything that had been piling up in the months we hadn’t talked.  He told me about the miscarriage that devastated him, the mortgage that was months behind, the new baby on the way that might not be his,  the lies he told about Shelby, and the girl who was destroying him.  I hope you didn’t think this was an apology Anna.  It’s not!  I’ve decided to only deal in the facts and not let you destroy me like you did him.  If only SC had a law for what you did, then you’d be in jail and I’d have justice for Shaun. Your actions are inexcusable, but I’d like to believe you already have a hard time looking in the mirror and sleeping at night. I could tell the world how you made fun of him for seeking help.  How you continued to play mind games with him when you already knew how bad things were.  He told you that he’d tried to kill himself before.  He told you before anyone else  how depressed he was and yet you did nothing.  The difference in us is…. He told me he was fine.  He asked me to back off  of you, so he could talk to you.  I trusted you to be there for him.  I trusted you to seek help and well…. look where that got me.

So now…. I will tell the world.  NOT TALKING IS PART OF THE PROBLEM.   Suicide is ugly and scary and painful.  It’s taking our loved ones like a thief in the night and it is 100 % preventable if we talk about it.  I am so sick of being asked to be quiet.  I am so sick of hearing I don’t want to talk about that.  I am so sick of being told to move on and let go.  I am even sicker of hearing that I need to heal. I am done pretending to be ok for anyone else!  I am well aware that nothing will bring Shaun back.  I am well aware that I am depressed and have anxiety.  Can you blame me?  Are you part of my problem?  Have you said anything to me that you would regret being turned into a movie like this?  If so, you are part of the bigger problem too. You are one of many reasons on my list why suicide could be an option, but stop worrying.  I won’t kill myself.  I have too much to live for and kids who need me to change the world for them, before the world changes them. I won’t give in.  I won’t stop talking!  You won’t destroy me or my family!  You’ve tried and tried to break me, but have only made me stronger.  Get ready world I am coming for you!

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