And this is the thing about the internet. It's very easy to tell strangers things behind the anonymity of a user name and a cartoon avatar. And it's very easy to back away and say, well hey, I'm not responsible for the mental health of a stranger. That's some crazy I didn't sign up for.
But what if this kid doesn't tell anyone else? What if I'm the only person she's disclosed this to? Or, worse, what if she runs into some asshole online who thinks it's funny to dare her to do it?
So that inconsequential chat about fanfic tropes turned into me wrangling a promise out of her to call a helpline. It's easy when you're under pressure to feel overwhelmed by everything. Depression sucks, and it's like any other illness: untreated, it can get worse. So she's going to call that helpline, and yes, she's going to check in later with me.
Sometimes when we write stories, the connections we make with our readers aren't the ones we expected. I hope people like my stories. I hope they have an emotional reaction when they read them. But what I never hope is to get this again: "TBH, your updates are the only good thing in my life at the moment."
I hate that this girl feels so alone, and I hate that she feels she has nothing in her life that is worth sticking around for. I hate that she's so depressed and stressed, and that she said the only reason she hadn't tried to kill herself was that she was afraid she'd fuck that up too.
To be honest, I'm not even entirely sure why I'm posting this. Because I was rattled, I think. Because it would have been so easy to brush off with a cheer up, you'll feel better soon. Because too many people think that when someone says they're suicidal, they're attention-seeking. People who really mean it don't tell anyone first, do they? And that's false. If anyone discloses to you that they want to self harm, please make sure they seek help. Even if they're just a stranger on the internet.