1.) How you heard about the show?
I had actually heard about the book in high school, never got around to reading it. So, I was really interested when I heard there was a series.
2.) So you were aware of the subject matter when you started it, were you concerned or hesitant?
Not at all, it peeked my interest because of the content. I think sometimes the subject of suicide and self-harm in high school is too hush hush. It needs to be raised to the surface
3.) I couldn’t agree more. As a mom, do you think mental health education is just as important as regular education?
Absolutely, especially because growing up I suffered from depression and self-harm. It was made fun of and kids that age don’t have positive outlets to release negative energy
4.) That was my next question, if you suffer from a mental illness or have family/friends who suffer from mental illness?
I grew up in a family that didn’t discuss depression, they thought it was made up in your head but yes, it runs in my family, which I didn’t find out until my family tried to get me help.
And the friends surrounding me were having similar issues and all at once I had three if my closest friends threatening suicide, I was scared to wake up to hear one of them was already gone
All terribly frightening things to have to carry around at such a young age.
Absolutely. Which in return brought on more anxiety on my end. And things got worse before they got better.
5.) What did you like about the show?
It was raw, and it was real. And it made you almost uncomfortable. But it needs to be brought to parent’s attention. Sometimes you can have an awesome family and home life and you can still have conflicting emotions
Mental illness doesn’t always manifest in a broken home. It’s indeed in your head but not just something you think up. It’s chemical. It’s all consuming, so I agree. The stigma is what I’m trying to write about. The same goes with rape or sexual assault victims.
Which is hard to explain to people…without sounding “crazy”. Absolutely. And unfortunately, I was a victim of sexual assault as well, so if you need to ask I’m okay with that too because I’d love to help end that stigma in young girls.
6.) That leads into my next question then which is was there something you didn’t like about the show or was hard to watch?
Definitely. The end of the series was where I was in tears. Specifically coming back to her going through slitting her wrists and showing the pain of it all, her bleeding out and the parents finding her lifeless. Of course, the second most painful to watch was Hannah getting raped.
I’m sure as both someone who has a history of sexual assault and self harm, it was hard for you to have to see those things again. As a mom, I’m sure that pulled on some strings as well.
I think with having depression at that age, like I said, there’s almost no outlet. You haven’t learned how to cope with the flood of emotions and hormones going on. Your whole world feels like its ending even when the boy you like doesn’t like you back… So multiplying that feeling by a thousand when someone is bullying you and making your life hell is overwhelming.
7.) Do you think they reflected the material accurately?
I think the material was pretty spot on, there was no sugar coating anything, and that’s almost what makes it even more captivating.
The portrayal of the teachers and counselor especially. Teachers and counselors see these children every day and witness it all. But not once did one of those adults reach out. I had one teacher who expressed his concern for me. Out of the many that knew me
And again, I’m sure they feel uncomfortable… But sometimes it takes that one person to lift you up when you’re at your lowest.
8.) Do you feel like anything was missing or could have been added?
I feel like it left us all wanting more somehow. It was just such a good series we all didn’t want it to end. But that in return made it better. I think the detail they put into it was amazing. Not sure they could have added much more.
9.) Some of the other people I’ve interviewed that have mentioned them feeling like they needed more felt like they really wanted justice to fall on Bryce. As a victim of sexual assault, would you say that having it open ended is kind of how the justice system stigmatizes sexual assault/rape?
Well, absolutely… You want justice, but mostly you want peace with yourself. You spend a lot of time blaming yourself and it drives you nuts. It’s 10x harder when its someone who looks like they’d never do that (also like Bryce).
10.) How did you feel by the end of the series?
I was saddened by the end of it, and I wanted to reach in the tb and help her
11.) What would you tell someone suffering from a mental illness or a sexual assault victim if they were considering watching the show?
If tell them to go for it, it definitely digs up old memories but if you’ve lived through it you feel a little less like you were the only one.
Be sure to catch the rest of my interviews posting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
You can read the previous articles in the links below: