Today I came across an article that I found frighteningly disturbing on so many levels. I will try to be brief on each point but there are so many thoughts packed in here, it is going to be tough. Abraham Biggs Jr. was teenager who was having some serious problems in life. On Wednesday November 19, 2008, he took his own life. What makes this suicide different is that it was done on a live web cam. With others not only watching, but some encouraging him to do it. 1500 people reportedly watched this kid end his own life. I actually have to pause to collect myself. This is one of the most heart wrenching things I have ever read.
11 years ago, almost to the exact day, I plotted and was prepared to carry out my own suicide. There aren't that many people that know that. If I am giving my testimony or someone finds out, I freely talk about it but I have not previously gone around pronouncing it. I am not just talking about being sad and thinking death would be better. I mean I was wrecked and had my death and the date planned out. I got lucky though. God used a classmate that I did not know so well to inadvertently bring me from the brink. I wish to God someone had been there for Abraham. [Disclaimer: I have provided a link to the note he left because I think it is important for recognizing what is going on with the people around us. This is not for kicks or entertainment. If you are using it for such, please respectfully do not click on it from my page.] Reading his note, I can identify with the pain, torment and worthlessness he felt and wonder if the people around him could see it in him. I know I was good about hiding my depression. My own parents did not know how bad I had been back then until I told them about it this year.
One of the things that I found most disturbing is that some people in that online community did not only doubt Abraham's intent, they encouraged him to end his life. Now, I am not trying to blame these people for his death. He made the final choice to end his life. But what I do want to hit on is how much people can lack in empathy that they would not only fail to provide any semblance of care and support, but would go out of their way to encourage death. I hope that you are not like that but it does remind me of the Milgram Experiment that showed almost all are capable of harming someone we don't directly know. By the time people took Abraham seriously, it was too late.
Another aspect is that we have been blessed with incredible opportunities for connecting with complete strangers because of the internet. Unfortunately, it can also rob of us of our humaneness because of the content we are exposed to. Sadly in our quest for attention and entertainment, I do not think this is the last online suicide we will read about.
If you are thinking about suicide, please stop. Go talk with someone. A friend, a parent, even a professional counselor or therapist. Life is not one we should journey in alone. And I promise you that no matter what is going wrong, no matter how bad things are, there is someone who can relate to you. There is someone that cares enough that their life would be affected by your death. But more than anything, if you end your life, you do not get to see what tomorrow holds and it might just be the day things turn around. How do I know? I was there. Hopeless. Welcoming death. In 24 hours my life did a complete 180 and I have never looked back. Come away from the edge. Someone will listen.
Please! I implore you. If you know someone that is battling depression or hear of a suicide plot online or in your community, take it seriously. Sometimes simple interaction can change things around for the person. Sometimes you need more help. Please visit the The National Institute for Mental Health and To Write Love on Her Arms for more information on suicide prevention, support, and resources.