Its time to open up the conversation on mental illness

Recently, I finished the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” and I didn’t realize how much it would resonate with me. It took my boyfriend and I less than a week to finish it due to how addicting it was. Not only did I connect to the characters, but I connected to their reactions.

I cried, I cringed, and I remembered.

I don’t talk about this much, but in 2013 my cousin committed suicide in a point in her life where no one saw it coming. Dealing with depression is hard, but dealing with multiple mental illnesses on top of it, feels powerless. I was young when she hit her very lows. I never knew the other side of her that was only seen outside of family functions. I only saw the cousin who was old enough to take a 6th grader into the theaters to see The Grudge. I only saw the cousin who had glow in the dark stars on her ceiling and cheetah print everything.

I never knew she was suffering.

I don’t blame my family. This was their first time dealing with mental illness, as far as I know. They kept quiet.  They didn’t know how to open up. My Aunt and Uncle tried to show everyone that their daughter was perfectly fine.

But she wasn’t. At least until September 18th 2013.

I was sitting in my english class and received a text from her saying, “I love you and I’m sorry.” We never texted, so I thought she sent it to the wrong person. A few minutes later, I reached out to other family members who also received the text.

11 days later her body was found with a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head.

The cousin who I always saw smiling was now dead. I ask myself if I ever really knew her.

I’m saying this because this cannot be locked behind closed doors anymore. In current society we are more open to the conversation and I feel slightly better. But, is this talked about in the work place? Is this talked about enough in schools? With parents? Grandparents?

I’m overwhelmed with happiness that TV series like “13 Reasons Why” are being made because it’s able to reach everyone. It’s able to resonate with children and parents and teachers and bosses. It’s able to open up the conversation so no one is suffering anymore. Please, bring this up in conversation because you never know who around you is feeling like they are not worthy. That they would rather feel nothing at all then sadness. Get help. Find resources. You are not alone.

Suicide is never the answer.

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