By this time, I’m sure everyone has heard of 13 Reasons Why, the hotly-debated Netflix show that centres around a young woman who commits suicide after being bullied, and sexually assaulted.
Whether this show is sparking a conversation about mental health or is an unhealthy representation of suicide, what’s important to remember is to keep the fiction out of reality.
If you’re relating to 13 Reasons Why, I’ve got another list for you.
The stigma around mental health is slowly waning. Even if you don’t have the resources to help you right now, you will soon. As people get more accepting, there’s no need to keep it hidden.
There’s no need to label what you’re feeling if you don’t want to. Getting help is all about what makes you the most comfortable. If you want a diagnosis, you can get one. But you don’t need one to get through what you’re going through, if you don’t want one.
Not every fit is going to be right. Laurier has mental health services available to all students, but you don’t have to go through the school. Even finding the right counsellor isn’t a one-size-fits-all.
The common cliché that “grades aren’t worth your life” is absolutely true. There’s no use in straight A’s if you’re not around to reap the rewards.
Your contributions are valid. Whether you are the president of the university or you’re no more involved than reading articles in The Sputnik, your contributions to the community matter. You play a role and it would not be the same without you.
University is tiring. It’s stressful, overwhelming and challenging. But there is some reason you chose to come here. If it’s still important to you, hold onto it and use it as motivation. If not, remember that this isn’t the only path and it isn’t for everyone. Do what’s best for your own health and development.
Staying mindful can help a lot. If we’re so caught up in the future, it’s hard to appreciate what’s going on now. Mindfulness isn’t a cure, but it can certainly help with some symptoms.
Suicide is not a revenge tactic. It’s the end of everything in this world and there’s no way to feel the sympathy of others when you feel nothing at all.
As debilitating and life-altering as sexual assault is, there are resources available to you and you are not alone. You can get in contact with Sarah Scanlon, Laurier’s sexual violence support advocate. There is no reason to end your life because of what someone else chose to do to you. Your life is yours and, no matter how hard they try, no one can take that away from you, even if it feels like it right now.
There are people just like you all around you. The more you talk, the more likely you are to find someone you can relate to and you can share your experiences with. Your life is valid and someone wants to listen.
If you can pinpoint your triggers and take action to eliminate them, you’ll be happier for it. If the internet makes you upset, cut back on your usage. If one of your courses has a lot of material on sexual assault that you can’t safely handle, there is no shame in dropping it. You come first for yourself, no matter what.
Anyone who doesn’t support the fight you’re going through isn’t your friend at all. That’s their fault, not yours. There are countless people who will support you properly, and they’ll show themselves throughout your journey.
No matter what your mind may be telling you, you matter.
This year, make sure you take time to focus on your mental health. There are countless reasons why you matter and why it’s worth it to stick around.