I just finished binge-watching “13 Reasons Why” and I come away feeling that it’s probably the most important piece of work in decades and that every family, legislator, and news reporter needs to sit down and watch it through.
It touches on all the reasons why kids are hurting, shooting up schools, and committing suicide. It’s nearly perfect in showing how cruelty and bullying from peers, is affecting a great number of kids and it touches on many of the issues human-beings are facing head-on from the “Me Too” movement to divorce, homosexuality, race and culture differences to how technology has magnified bullying. It touches on gun ownership, teen sexuality, teacher/student relationships, opioids, heroin usage, runaway teens and school sports pressures in ways that make you question how we must do a better job in bringing up happy, healthy children in a world with so much “noise”. It touches on the fact that we are not perfect beings and this comes across in very dramatic yet poignant ways in so much of the series that makes it one of the most important pieces of work in quite some time.
But it does leave one thing out and once again I am bothered very much by the absence of one particular issue that has affected me personally and so many families that they have taken to social networking groups to understand what’s happening to their children and themselves. That issue is SSRI, ADHD & ADD medication. There, I said it. Big Pharma once again gets away unscathed and doesn’t even get a supporting role in one of the most startlingly truthful series in years.
Do I find it surprising? No, because I’ve come to learn that Big Pharma always gets a pass. It’s most likely because when I open a newspaper or turn on the TV or try and have this conversation with those legislating our government, I find that Big Pharma is paying for most of the ads in media, Hollywood and in lobbying our legislators. Once again, they win and this issue gets glossed over. But I’m not going to let that happen. Not today.
They do touch on “medication” in one story-line where a young girl believes that she is bi-polar and she takes herself out of the equation by entering a facility with a controlled environment to get healed from her mental illness. We are left to believe that all is right with the girl after this scene and the story-line moves on. They never touch on this issue again and it’s kind of bewildering when so many of the children I know and have known in my lifetime have been prescribed SSRI medication outside of controlled environments and were left to continue on with their daily lives dealing with the bigger issues that this series does put in the spotlight.
Yet, how many teens have committed suicide because they were put on medication and/or taking it sporadically? How many teens have taken to shooting up schools after being put on medication rather than having to deal with the real issues of bullying or something as simple as lack of nutrition or lack of communication with adults? How many students are walking around feeling dead inside because they are on medication that was never even approved for them yet were prescribed by doctors who have received perks? Do I sound like I’m making grand statements with nothing to back this up? Well, that’s just not true at all.There is plenty of evidence to back this up but when anyone speaks about it they are reduced to ridicule or verbally admonished by the media or “trolls” on the internet.
Maybe this is an issue that needs a series all on its own because “13 Reason’s Why”, the greatest series about teenage angst ever made, leaves out the one most important issue that so may teens are dealing with today! Our children are being prescribed mind-altering medication and no one is doing a thing to stop it and we can’t even talk about it!
Now I could get into how many school shootings were done by kids on/or coming off of SSRI medication or how many children commit suicide for the same reason but who will listen? I have screamed about this issue for years on social networking. I have run for office because of this issue simply so my voice would be heard by a wider audience. I have debated. I have been interviewed. I have written. I have screamed. And I am not alone in this. Day after day I see the pain coming from mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives and husbands who form social networking groups to ask if they are the only ones suffering through the pain of having been on medication and trying to wean themselves off only to have more medication prescribed. Day after day I see parent’s break down because their child hung themselves or cut themselves or hurt other children. Day after day I see people –real humans– in fear because they no longer have feelings and are completely apathetic to life because of medication that was prescribed by doctors that they trusted.
I was very happy to see this series “13 Reasons Why” and I watched with so much gusto only to be disappointed at the end that Big Pharma once again played no part in being a catalyst for what’s happening in the world of teenage pain. I have seen a lot of criticism because the media and press feel that the issue of “mental illness” was not given as a reason for teen suicide but they did touch on mental illness –what they never touch on is that the greatest cause of teen suicide is the medication itself. How do I know this? Because I live in the real world and I talk to people everyday who explain their life before medication and come into social network groups to explain their life after taking medication. I know because my own 15 year old daughter walked out onto a roof and hung herself because she was on Zoloft –which incidentally I found out after she died, was never even approved for children under 18 with depression. It was only approved for children with OCD –my daughter did not have OCD!
Hopefully this series, when it continues into its third season, touches on this issue. It needs to be talked about. We need to be told the truth. We need to stop having this industry with deep pockets who supports all the media given a constant pass. We need to have the conversation once and for all and we need to stop it from happening over and over again. It’s a real issue, it’s probably the biggest reason why so many kids are dealing with tragedy and the silence is deafening.