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This entry will deal with a suicide attempt, some personal pain, and some of the worst behavior you can imagine.
You have been warned
Because this is such a heavy topic, I will be posting cute pictures throughout this piece to cleanse the palate and make something as serious as this a bit easier to swallow).
It’s been mentioned before that I’m a survivor of, among other things, child abuse. One of the things that come along with the universe routinely shitting on you is an unrelenting depression. It’s not something I’m proud of, but in my darkest times, I’ve attempted suicide, 4 times. When you are in that moment, you’re classified as insane; the psychosis created by such horrific depression makes you feel like you’re the only person in existence at best, and at worst like the only people who care about you are your abusers (if you have any).
In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, Douglas Adams brought forth the Total Perspective Vortex, a machine capable of showing you your specific place in the vast inconceivable mass that is the universe. When I was ready to end it all, what I felt was exactly that, that as vast as the universe was, someone like me not only didn’t have anyone who cared for them, but was so insignificant to not even merit one. This is why 70% of suicides, including my own, do not include notes, because we don’t feel like there’s any reason to write something we think no one is likely to read.
At the time, nothing was more apparent than the misery and suffering I was going through, and even if someone tried to help, there probably wouldn’t be a different outcome. However, I survived, I got help, and while the desire to try again is ever-present, thankfully I haven’t tried again since starting therapy years ago.
(Oh look, a dog who thinks it’s people.)
Now, the reason I bared my soul to you guys about this is that, over this last weekend, Stephen, a student at University of Guelph, attempted suicide after first announcing what he planned to do on the internet message board 4Chan, sometimes referred to as the outhouse of the internet.
“This is it,” declared Stephen, “Tonight I will be ending my own life. I’ve spent the last hour making the preparations and I’m ready to go through with it. As an oldfag who’s been on 4chan since 2004, I thought I would finally give back to the community in the best way possible. I am willing to an hero on cam for you all. All I request is for you guys to link me to a site where I can stream it for you guys, then I will gladly fulfill my promise.”
This is something that has started happening with a worrying frequency. People will sometimes prove wrong everything they say about strangers on the internet (like this time where Blizzard Tech Support saved someone’s life, or this time mediocre rapper T.I. talked a jumper off the ledge), times like this prove that sometimes what they say is very, very true.
When 4Chan users saw his post, they not only mocked what is essentially a televised suicide note, but actively encouraged him to go for it, setting up a chatroom where he could stream his suicide in real time.
( What’s this? A windup dog?)
During the stream, as people clambered to be one of the sacred 200 to watch him end his life, Stephen downed copious amounts of an unspecified pill, chased it with vodka, and started a fire in his room with an electric toaster. As smoke filled the room and he tweeted of his impending doom, these walking tumors showed an unheard of level of caring. Unless you want to be filled with disgust for the rest of the day, I wouldn’t click that link.
Toaster Stephen, as he’s now known, is alive and in recovery, thankfully. However, to think that people could not only watch someone kill themselves and do nothing is sickening in it’s own right, but to actually root for them to do it, there is so much wrong there that I don’t think all the languages of man combined have a word for that level of sickening depravity. The Roman emperor Caligula is infamous for being so shithouse crazy that he once declared war on Poseidon, ordering his men to attack the sea itself with swords and spears, and even he would agree there’s something wrong with this picture.
(If you clicked the link above, click this one to make things a little better).
What does it say about us as a species, and America as a society, that we have shot clear past glorifying violence and have begun to turn losing a battle against psychotic depression into a spectator sport? What have we become as a people? More importantly, what will we inevitably turn into if we continue going down this path?
It’s taken me 3 days to write this, because this is something that is always hard to talk about. If you’ve never dealt with suicidal thoughts, personally or with someone close to you, I’m truly happy for you. Nothing compares to the kind of pain that is involved there, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone living or dead.
When you talk about something with the gravity of suicide, you want to make sure that you get it right; Hopefully I’ve done that with this piece.