Triggers & White Knights
This week it’s all about triggers and flashbacks.
Plus, did Clay reeeally kill Hannah?
First up though, your answers to our questions about Sheri running over a stop sign.
What could you say to Sheri if she told you what happened? Tell Sheri she made a mistake, she panicked, that it was normal, that she was scared, and that she didn’t need to hold on to all that guilt forever. You would tell her that coming clean to her parents and her friends and dealing with the consequences would feel soooo much better then trying to undo it every day for the rest of her life.
- What could you say to Hannah? You told us she has a right to share what happened too. That we don’t need to hold on to other people’s secrets for them, especially if they hurt us, or make us feel alone and in pain.
Sometimes we think we’re protecting someone by keeping their secrets for them. Other times we might protect ourselves because we feel like we’re somehow guilty for knowing – or we just don’t know who to go to.
BUT, like we have said over and over, secrets are toxic. They make us feel separate from the people who care about us. If we’re keeping holding secrets for others that hurt us, then we are not helping anyone. Find someone you trust and let that heavy load go.
Did Clay really kill Hannah?
And now to Clay’s episode. We fiiiiiinally find out why he is on the tapes. Spoiler alert, it’s NOT because “he killed Hannah Baker”. Hannah herself says: “You need to be here if I’m going to tell my story.” In this ep, we find out that at the party Hannah and Clay were making out, and she got TRIGGERED into thinking about all the emotional and sexual abuse she had experienced from guys. That freaked her out and made her feel scared, hurt and angry, so she shut down and yelled at Clay to leave her alone.
So we will talk about triggering in a minute but first let’s get one thing straight, CLAY DID NOT KILL HANNAH BAKER. When Clay listens to his tape, he wishes that he could have done things differently and “saved” Hannah by saying the right thing at the right time.
But he did exactly what Hannah asked him to do – leave. Sure if he had been an expert in psychology or trauma he might have recognized her reaction as a cry for help, but he is not.
Clay isn’t a knight in shining armor -they don’t exist. What Hannah needed was not someone to “love her right”. She needed someone – anyone – to recognize how much pain she was in, and to help her find ways to share, process and heal. She needed a friend.
Triggers & flashbacks
Which leads us to her being triggered during their make out session. This might seem *crazy* but is actually veeeeery normal.
What does it mean to get triggered? Being triggered means something happens to make you react in the present to something that’s happened in your past. It often happens when you’ve been through something scary or stressful, and you’re “triggered” into having a stress or fear response to things in the present that may be totally safe.
It’s your body’s way of protecting yourself, but often it is overprotective and out of your control. Getting triggered can get in the way of living your daily life, or doing things you want to do. It also can come in the form of flashbacks, which we see Jessica dealing with in this episode too.
In fact, Jessica is so confused by her flashbacks and her memories telling her something different to her boyfriend and friends that she recreates the dangerous situation and starts hanging out with Bryce alone. This is also a common reaction to someone who has been through an unwanted sexual experience.
It’s a way of trying to understand what happened, but also recreate the scenario in a way that makes you feel like you have some control over it, because we somehow think this will make us feel better. Jessica is unconsciously recreating a dangerous situation to get to the facts of what happened to her and FINALLY Justin (also NOT a knight in shining armor) obliges by telling her “Bryce raped you”. At least now she can start to face what happened.
How to help someone who's been abused
1 in 3 girls in NZ have an unwanted sexual abuse by the time they’re 16, and 13 Reasons Why does a great job of showing how devastating that can be. SO let’s talk about how you can be there for someone going through this sh*t: i.e how to truly love someone.
1. Recognise the warning signs if someone you know is all of a sudden acting different. That could look like not hanging out with friends as much, keeping to themselves, not doing things they used to like doing, getting into trouble a lot, or wagging school.
2. Ask them what is up and truly listen. Don’t feel like you have to give any answers, just saying “Hey I noticed some changes in you is there, anything you want to share?” and then letting them talk can do a lot to help bring them back to the same planet you are on.
3. Validate their feelings, saying “that sounds so hard” or “I see why you have been so upset!” makes them feel heard and like they are not “going crazy”.
4. Tell them if they ever want to talk you are there for them, but that you won’t make them talk if they don’t want to. Giving them the option to share when they feel ready might help them open up, but also knowing you aren’t going to pressure them for details will make it easier for them to be with you when they don’t feel like talking about it.
5. Just be there for them. Hang out with them. Invite them to the movies. Often when someone is going through something really difficult the people around them don’t know how to deal so they pull away. Just keeping up the friendship, even if that person is sad and depressed and you feel like they aren’t enjoying themselves, can be enough to pull them through.
6. If they need more support, visit dearem to find out how to get them the help they need. Talk to your important people, the adults you trust like your mom, sister, auntie, school counselor. You shouldn’t feel like you have to support them alone.
Sexual harassment and abuse can come flashing back when you least expect it. But take it from us – with the right support, you can totally heal and recover. Have each others’ backs everyone x
Now onto this week’s question:
What would you say to Clay when he was convinced he “killed Hannah”
This is part of a series to help us see what we can do to help give the Hannah Bakers of the world a different ending x.
Here are alllll the links here: