This past summer, I wrote a Reasons Why Not List.
If you’re a fan of 13 Reasons Why and watched the 2nd season (whoops spoilers ahead), you would know that Hannah’s mom found a document on her computer which stated 11 Reasons Why Not to take her life.
She was just two reasons short. There should have been more reasons why not than reasons why, right?
This show really got to me during one of my lowest points in 2018. If you’re curious, I mentioned how bad 2018 was for me emotionally here but how grateful I was for all the lessons I learned because of this heartbreak. Learning during times of struggle and hardship is so valuable, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything less painful.
But why is that?
Well, I finished this season of the show by myself and came to terms to the fact I chose to watch the show on my own. Mental health has always been a topic of interest to me, and I sincerely feel in my heart the importance it has in my everyday life. By watching this show, I have become more present with the self-sabotaging or dangerous thoughts I find myself having. Facing these thoughts head on, I was scared beyond belief, but I was also put in a position where I really had to sit and think with what was going on in my head.
During the moments where I felt alone with my thoughts, burdened with my struggles at work and with my relationships, I sought out the notes app on my phone. I didn’t have a journal on me, and I wanted this to be an ongoing list, in case I had more reasons to add on.
And there it was, my list of Reasons Why Not.
In the show, Hannah’s list was repetitive, where she mentioned her mom, dad, and Clay/Helmet, more than once. I wondered if I would do the same. I wondered who mattered enough to me for me to take a double look at ending my life.
So I wrote, and I healed.
I started the list with my siblings. They are one of the biggest reasons why I could not take my life. As much as they can get on my nerves, being younger and annoying as siblings typically are, they have been so supportive of me, honest with what they think of my actions, and unconditionally loving of who I am.
Obviously, the list went on, listing more specific people who I felt a calling to put on my list because of the impact they’ve made on my life. But I don’t want to say any more specific people put on my list because it’s personal to me. Just know that my partner, friends, and family were included with details of why they made it onto the list.
But how did these names get written on my list? (Other than by me typing it down of course.) Well, I wrote down the names of people who immediately came to mind as I was thinking of goodbyes. If I were to say goodbye, who did I feel this need to say something to? I’ve always had thoughts of suddenly disappearing off the planet and having some sort of record of a final “goodbye” to those I care about — this way, they have some last words from me, personalized to them. It’s a bit morbid to admit, but it’s one of the reasons why a Reasons Why Not List resonated with me so well once I was exposed to it in 13 Reasons Why. I felt as if the universe was trying to tell me something. And I know now what it was trying to tell me.
It wanted me to think beyond the humans who make life worth living.
Though I won’t tell you the specific people on my list, I can, and will tell you, what I put on my list that wasn’t human. Here are just a few of the reasons I wrote:
The water of the Bay Area, of the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, of Australia and the rest of the world I have yet to see. The air I was breathing, due to the trees planted that emit the oxygen we need to breathe. The land that my house was built on, that I could stand on each and every day. The mountains that take me to a place away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
A feeling that made it worth living still. Both being loved and giving love. It was a strong feeling I possessed. And it was a driving factor for me.
My dreams of a happy life:
I’m young. I know that. People tell me that I’m too young to be experiencing so much stress or to feel sad, and rather than take their words to heart and feel more irritated, sad, or frustrated with how my life is going, I shift my perspective to see the possibilities of a better life, and how I can’t get there if I end my life right here. That sight of hope was enough for me.
The fact my list included more reasons why not, than reasons why, is something I am ultimately so thankful for.
In addition to journaling and writing this list, I had the supplement of therapy, youtube, and books to help me get through my rough times. The people on my list were people I talked to and saw throughout the summer, and I know that they would be devastated if something were to happen to me. I know that it’s not an easy decision to leave and that it was my way of saying that I need help.
And help is what I sought out, when I was aware of it and took a step back to carefully think of what I could do in that present moment.
I chose methods of self – help and being vulnerable with other people to better understand the thoughts I had inside my head.
By doing so, I ended up not following through with the thoughts, feelings, and actions I wanted at that moment of writing my list. Because a little voice inside my head told me that things were going to be okay eventually, and they were. Past Eril stayed strong, and look where she is now: present, alive, and more resilient than ever. Crafting her message, being with her friends and living in the moment, building a business, leaving her 9-5 work in pursuit of something better, and so much more. Whiteroseteaa is my little baby, and it has blossomed into a place of reflection, growth and community. I’m excited for the future and am hoping for the best, even during times where I feel at my lowest.
So my dear, if you are struggling right now and have listed out many reasons for why you want to leave this life of yours, take a step back, breathe, and list out some reasons why not. You’d be surprised where it’ll take you.