13 Reasons Why: Tape Eight- Lauren Beth

As I stated in my previous article, this will be part of a 13 interview cycle where I speak with fans of the hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why.


Name/Age: Lauren/18

1.) How did you hear about the show?

I saw it pretty much everywhere on Netflix and then heard a couple of my friends were watching it.
2.) Do you personally suffer from mental illness or know someone close who has dealt with things such as suicide or sexual assault?
Not me personally, but my older sister and two close friends of mine have suffered from depression/suicidal thoughts over the years.
3.) Did your experience with your sister and friends concern you about watching the show?
It was actually kind of the opposite, I was hoping that the show would be an accurate depiction of depression/suicide from what I had experienced. Someone I knew had warned me that they showed the suicide on screen, but I wasn’t worried about that, like, triggering me or anything I guess.
4.) What did you like about the show? Did you feel like they depicted the material accurately?
Overall, I wouldn’t say that I liked the show very much? There were some touching moments and even a couple parts that made me laugh but, especially in the last 4 or so episodes, I was more just watching to hear all the tapes rather than to see more of the show if that makes sense. I personally didn’t think Hannah’s experience with depression that realistic. While I know that things can snowball and traumatic events can definitely lead a person into those dark places, some of my initial thoughts right from the first few episodes was that not all depression/mental health stems from big events or having people spread rumors about you or whatever. Sometimes depression just /is/. I found Clay’s depiction of grief to be way more realistic than Hannah’s depiction of depression. Another smaller nitpick I had was with the families – I was actually writing down some notes to myself on my phone as I was watching the show and one thing I wrote was “Families don’t just argue about renting limos. They argue about their kids’ grades, friends, weight, laziness, and whatever else.” Or maybe that just comes from my experience, I’m sure there are nice families out there, but all of the people I’ve known with mental illness have not had particularly supportive parents.
5.) Would you say it was more glamorized or over the top than actual teenage depression typically is?
Definitely, I think some aspects might have been more true had they not been exaggerated to create all the drama for the show. (And I know it was based off of a book, but I’m not sure what changes might’ve been made or how different/accurate the book possibly was, just to give it the benefit of the doubt.)
6.) Do you think because they decided to make things that way, it helped or hurt the overall message of awareness that the show was trying to convey?
Being that the message of the show was ‘awareness,’ just having it exist in the first place has achieved that and opened up a lot of discussions. But I think it dramatized it to the point where now people will be looking for the wrong things. Like they’ll be looking at someone’s reactions after some big event, rather than just looking at people you know every day and seeing how they’re doing. And I think to people that are depressed or suicidal, it perpetuates a bad message that other people are to blame. And sometimes it’s true that the things other people do definitely don’t help the situation, but blaming other people entirely for your problems (especially if your mental health is skewing your perception of people’s actions – not that I think Hannah’s did) is a toxic idea.
7.) What do you think could have been added to make the message more impactful?
I understand that it’s a TV show based off of a preexisting book so I know they think they have to add drama and all, but I’ve heard that they spoke to bunch of professionals (psychiatrists and the like) and basically disregarded everything they were told to do. I think had they listened to the professionals, and also maybe actually spent time with some high schoolers who have experience with these kinds of issues, the show would’ve been more realistic and more kind of tactful and that would have had a bigger impact on their viewers who don’t suffer from mental illness because they would actually understand more.
8.) How did you feel by the end of the series?
When I got to the end, I thought that I was fine for a little bit and then I started thinking, and a few minutes later I was bawling my eyes out, actually kind of about an unrelated topic. But the show had dug up some emotions that I hadn’t felt in about a year, and I was pretty upset for about half an hour before I distracted myself with some more lighthearted content.
Were you glad it pulled up old emotions or you’d prefer not to talk about it?
Well I definitely wasn’t happy to be crying again about something that I thought I was done crying about a long time ago.
9.) What would you tell someone who suffers from mental illness or has been a victim of sexual assault if they were considering watching this show?
I would tell them to boycott it. The suicide and sexual assault scenes are pretty vivid so I wouldn’t want them to watch the show honestly.

Be sure to catch the rest of my interviews posting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

You can read the previous articles in the links below:

Tape One- Alex Miller

Tape Two- Briana Gerrato

Tape Three- Karina Dale

Tape Four- Mom Anon

Tape Five- Lauren Carrillo

Tape Six- Christine Yule

Tape Seven- Mary Colpitts


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