THIS BLOG WAS INSPIRED BY, “NOT ALONE”. A NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY WITH THIS FEATURED DISCRIPTION…
“An 18-year-old struggling to understand her best friend’s suicide talks to teenagers who have grappled with mental illness and suicidal thoughts.”
In my opinion, this documentary was both moving and empowering, it is honest and straight to the point, not an easy watch but the message is poignant, delicate but loud and clear, as real life people disclose their personal suffering and demons in order to help and encourage others that may experience similar difficulties.
Teenagers in America speak out about mental illness after teenage suicide rates hit the red zone. The documentary was made to break down the barrier surrounding mental health, encouraging teenagers to talk about how they are really feeling, not just by selfies, pictures, emoji’s, social media and texts but urging contact and deep connection. The brave teenagers featured, one of which whom confessed to trying to take her own life only a month before filming, now have aspirations for a full blooming future for themselves. They advise fellow teenagers to reach out, to not be afraid and to seek help and treatment.
Social media seems to have been a huge trigger for the majority of teenagers involved. There is an awful lot of pressure to obtain the most likes/followers/requests in order to feel relevant, included and important rather than ugly, irrelevant, left out or boring. The common misconception of social media is that it enables you to feel connected and part of something, where as in reality; it is just a smokescreen that portrays a filtered and edited sense of self, rather than the full story. Throw in a mix of trolls and cyber bullying and being part of such an apparent simple social network, can quite rapidly turn into a living hell, causing major psychological damage. As if peer pressure wasn’t already gruelling in the days before the internet, now it invades our homes and beyond, constantly on the go with our phones permanently attached to our hands, in this pro technology era, it never stops!
The teenagers encourage others to be pro-active and vigilant about themselves and their friends. Now that is a community spirited attitude. Yet what exactly should one be looking out for? Some symptoms may be overly obvious and alarming, but others can be very subtle and so I would personally advise touching base with your cared for and loved ones, in person, on the regular, as we have already established the smoke screen and mirrors that social media and non-verbal or physical contact can portray. To name but a few symptoms…
• Change in personality
• Mood swings
• Lack of motivation
• Lack of interest
• Over eating
• Loss of appetite
• Substance abuse
• Reckless behaviour
• Suicidal behaviour
Potential causes for such behaviour…
• Feeling insignificant
• Feeling unimportant
• Feeling worthless
• Low self esteem
• Feeling lost
• Feeling out of place
• Falling out of touch with reality
• Falling behind
• Peer pressure
• Unstable home life
• Feeling stuck
• Hearing voices
All of the teenagers interviewed had struggled in various ways, but they all came to the same conclusion, suicide was there only way out, the only way to stop their troubles and finally be free. They had all tried to commit suicide and yet they all survived. Their paths to recovery were long and most of which were still receiving treatment at the time this documentary was filmed. I think they bravely shared their stories, in hope that others would not have to conquer so many demons before finding help, they were handing out life lines, and this is what they believe will help you escape the spiralling rabbit hole of depression and suicidal behaviour and help you get back onto the right track, in order to reignite dreams, and give you the strength to fight for a healthy and positive future…
• Let someone in
• Reach out for help
• Share your problems
• Accept help
• Acknowledge triggers
• Devise healthy coping strategies
• Accept that you do not have to fight alone
• Find something or someone to fight for
• Be kind to yourself
• Give yourself a chance
• Explore coping strategies, meditation, therapy, mindfulness, yoga, medication, hospitalisation, support networks, talking, being heard
• Take recovery at your own pace
This documentary featured real teenagers and young adults openly discussing their mental struggles, I acknowledge that this is not an easy thing to do. I am also personally aware that being at the receiving end of suicidal thoughts and acting out on suicidal behaviour is not easy, nor selfish (a common misconception) but more like, just in that moment an inescapable attempt at finally ending loosing and obliterating a seemingly never ending battle. Having access to real life people, opening up about their real life struggles, through a media outlet as renowned as Netflix, is testament that people are really starting to wake up and acknowledge that ill mental health is a serious and legitimate disability, a life threatening illness. Perhaps the more open we are about the taboo subject of mental health and all of its many symptoms, the less fearful people will be about reaching out, the less ignorant the people around you may be.
Although this particular documentary focusses on teenagers from America, we must not forget that this is a global problem and can hit any one of us at any time in our lives. I am thirty-three years old, I identify with nearly all of the personal accounts in this documentary and have an awful long way to go before my own recovery. It has been less than twelve months since my last suicide attempt. I last self-harmed approximately seven days ago. My main professional mental health support network is slack in most areas and I have reached out countless times, only to be left with no help and in the same predicament. I do not feel like it, and I often wonder why, but I am obviously a fighter and a survivor. Psychosis, hallucinations, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, dissociation, self-harm and suicidal behaviour are constantly hanging just above my, “Borderline” head but I am still here, and like all the brave teenagers who have genuinely overcome their woes, I hope to myself someday, but for now, it is more important for me to help others. It does not matter where you come from, how old you are, your ethnicity or sexual orientation, we are all human, humans that are susceptible to ill mental health, whether it be one in four or one in three, may your battle be long or short, it is important to be educated and have empathy. It is important to remove all stigmas from the topic of mental health, to no longer be silenced and shushed but to speak out loud and proud and so people can learn. Enough of the misleading headlines and inaccurate babble from online, old book’s and outdated theories, hear it from the horse’s mouth if you really want to learn, if you really want to be part of positive change and help save lives. The knowledge gained from experiences shared is invaluable.
I am genuinely sorry for the millions of lives lost due to ill mental health, and I will continue to share both my story and others, in hope that eventually the numbers of lives saved will outweigh the numbers of lives lost.
Please check out, “No Ones Lounge” via my YouTube Channel, noone adiarfromnoone subscribe for more and if you can, please donate in order for me to keep funding the invaluable messages that will be shared in every episode. Here’s a taster trailer, https://youtu.be/CP7sBZpf7mU and the donation link, https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/noone
“When Life Gets Tough, Please Remember That You Are Not Alone!”
Quote from, “Not Alone” netflix