So I received word today that a “friend” committed suicide. I’m not putting friend in quotes because the meaning lacks sincerity, but simply because I never met this person face to face. I’ve talked literally thousands of people through the various social media networks – some I’ve met, some I haven’t. I’ve talked to many for hours on end via skype or vent. We’ve gone on podcasts, written articles, played games, and conversed aimlessly among twitter and facebook – one might argue that the time spent in ‘virtual’ friendships outweighs what we spend face to face. So that begs the question: is a virtual friend less meaningful than a ‘real’ friend? And if they are less meaningful….why am I so upset?
I’ll spare the exact details on the person I am referring to, simply out of respect. Some from the WoW crowd on twitter will know who I am speaking of, given this post’s title. She was one of many people I met via twitter….I’m not one who seeks out people to follow; I just rant and scream, and for some odd reason, people talk back. It’s always odd to me, seeing as the only thing I know, is that I know nothing….but I digress. I started conversing with this person a few months ago. She’s was a young woman – old enough where I didn’t feel creepy saying the shit I say around her, but young enough to have their whole life ahead of them. She was, for the most part, a bubbly, fun girl and despite my usual hatred for such types of people, she made me laugh.
I noticed her demeanor changed sometime after I was forced to join facebook (ok ok – it’s not THAT bad). She was one of the first to ‘friend” me, so I noticed her feed more than I would on twitter. It became very depressed: No one loves me, I’m all alone, the world hates me, etc. Now shame on me for being a heartless cunt, but I simply chalked it up to melodramatic teenage angst. I remember being 19 -everything’s the end of the world then. I chatted with her, we played silly facebook games by sending ridiculous Farmville gifts – nothing out of the ordinary. I tried to cheer her up, & not to sound like a callous bitch, but I didn’t go out of my way to do much more. Going back and reading her facebook wall…maybe I should have. Maybe if I had paid attention, I would have noticed how bad things had gotten for her, how maybe any sort of validation or connection to anyone, even a random loud mouth drunk on the internet, might have made her think twice. Is it guilt I’m feeling, or is it a disgusting form of egotism, thinking there was SOMETHING I might have said or done to prevent this?
On one hand, I’m struggling with why a faceless name on the internet has affected me so much. On the other hand, I’m accepting that people are no less your friend simply because you haven’t hugged or shook their hand. And for that reason, I feel guilty. Because if someone feels so alone and out of options, anyone -even a random person on the internet – might be able to help. I won’t pretend I knew the scope of her issues, nor will I try to discredit their seriousness. To a suicidal person, the issues are larger than life, no matter how trivial they appear to an outsider. Trust me – I’ve been there.
I know there was probably nothing I could do – who the hell am I? I’m not looking for validation here, nor sympathy. I think all I’m trying to do is simply say to her, and her REAL friends & family: If there was something I, or anyone, could have done – I’m sorry.