Content note: mental illness, eating disorders, suicide, cutting, slight spoilers for To the Bone
I have not watched 13 Reasons Why. I am not going to. However, I think Netflix may have succeeded in what they were trying to do with 13 Reasons in To the Bone. It’s a look into mental illness that hurts. It’s not glamorous. It’s not melodramatic. It’s very matter of fact. I can’t speak from the perspective of someone with an eating disorder, but I can speak as someone who lives with self destructive compulsions. I can’t honestly say whether or not I recommend the movie, but it did something for me.
I could see myself in Eli. Her family was messed up, but trying. She carried guilt because they had to live with her. She went back and forth between half hearted compliance and outright defiance when it came to treatment and getting better.
Nearing the end, I honestly couldn’t tell if she was going to live or not. Would the treatment stick this time? Would the good maybes win out over the bad ones? It didn’t say. It was very Next to Normal in that way. But she tried again. And that’s all we can do.
It’s stories like this that keep me up at night. These stories force me to look at myself and actively decide if I’m going to try again.
This year has sucked. I was clean for a while. I didn’t cut until nearing finals. I started medication in April. At the time it felt like admitting defeat. And then I wondered how I made it this long without them. Then one month I let my refill lapse.
I was ok the first day. The next I didn’t get out of bed until 9pm. It was the first time in over a year that I was seriously and actively suicidal. I was about to do it, when I got a text. Just a random, “thought of you, I love you,” no reason, text.
I still cut. I was already bleeding, so why stop. I still cut deep. But first, I moved.
That wasn’t the last time. Either that I cut or that I was on the edge of going too deep in the shallow end. Fighting forever feels unsustainable. I’m tired. I just want to be done.
Being suicidal is the haunting of the finish line. It’s the obsession over bad “maybes:” “maybe I’ll die” and all the ways that could come about.
Being hopeful is a whisper of the wind in a branch barely within reach. It’s the good “maybes” piping up: “maybe you’ll live” and what that could mean.
Living is a lot scarier than dying.
Living means trying again.