'Suicide Reporting on the Internet'

Charlie Lloyd, commenting in reaction to the reaction over Aaron Swartz’s death:

Aaron Swartz is gone now, and nothing we do can find him. One of the barbs of a suicide is that it takes away the one person we most want to explain it. We can only make guesses how to catch the next one like him.

Here’s a guess: don’t romanticize suicide.

Here’s a guess: don’t talk as if it comes from a person’s true self, because (1) it’s factually incorrect and (2) it teaches that it can’t be treated without losing identity.

Here’s a guess: don’t talk as if you know exactly what was in the mind of a victim. At least put disclaimers on your speculations about influences.

Here’s a guess: don’t suppose that because someone is very smart, they can think their way out of depression, or that because they are very kind, they can be kind enough to themselves.

Here’s a guess: don’t use suicide as a punchline, and put trigger warnings on things that might be unusually dangerous for a person dealing with it.

Here’s a guess: watch out for your friends and yourself.

This is all terrific advice. Read it and read it again. And again.

And given my frame of mind right now, this part hits especially close to home:

If you are suicidal and you read this far, talk to someone about it right now. Like, get up from your chair now, put down your phone now, or open your e-mail or DM tab now, go to whomever you trust, or distrust least, or a professional, and say that you’ve been feeling bad. Say the words to them. It will get easier from there.

Of course, I’m too logical and chickenshit to do anything so rash and dramatic. Like Susan Hayward, I want to live, but I won’t deny that I do have frequent fantasies about what it’d be like to rub myself off. On the bright side, I have sought professional help from a psychologist.

(via Don Melton)