Hey everyone—Nikkie here! I’m just popping in to tell you to put your hands together for my lovely and talented bestie, Christina, who is gracing us with a guest post on the recent Netflix adaptation of the popular YA book 13 Reasons Why. Enjoy!
I was five when I had my first panic attack. My dad took me to my usual Wednesday night ballet class after picking me up from the sitter’s house. After I suited up in my tutu and pink ballet flats, we started rehearsal. I was excited because that day was particularly special: We were going to show off the turns we worked on the week prior. As we got into position, I looked at the row of seats to my right to make sure Dad was paying attention and realized he wasn’t there.
Panic immediately took over. I was by myself. Everyone else had someone to share that moment with, but not me. I’m not sure what happened next, but tears filled my eyes, I couldn’t breathe, and I sat on the floor with my knees tucked near my chest as I rocked myself. Twenty minutes later, after ringing my dad several times, he returned to pick me up from practice, apologizing for leaving by explaining he went to the store.
Of course, at the time, I didn’t know what I was experiencing, or why my brain switched into flight mode, but I recall that being my first dance with anxiety.
I’m close to 30 now, and I’ve been diagnosed with moderate to severe anxiety, abandonment issues, moderate depression and PTSD from traumatic episodes that happened throughout my upbringing. I’m a walking, breathing, living example of what it means to have mental illnesses. I’ve struggled with bouts of laying in my bed for days; waking up in the middle of the night from anxiety attacks taking over; ugly crying fits where it seems like I’ll never catch my breath. I used to be ashamed of my mental disorders until I found ways to relate to the outside world.
The media was my solace for accepting who I was and what I went through. In my teens, I saw characters who had the same struggles I did grace the screen and swim through book pages. And for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel alone. I’m sure that’s how a lot of others within the mental disorder community felt when 13 Reasons Why made its novel debut in 2007. The world was introduced to Hannah Baker, a teenager trying to survive the trials and tribulations of high school, but ultimately feeling helpless and like she had to take matters into her own hands. Nearly 10 years later, her story became a Netflix original series, and it has stirred the controversy pot of the internet, psychologists, and parents alike. But is the adaptation as severe as the critics paint Hannah’s story to be? Continue reading “GUEST POST: Let’s Talk About the Depiction of Mental Illness in Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why””