This just makes me sick to my stomach.
What the hell kind of a country do we live in, what kind of a race have we become, when someone's suicide becomes a form of entertainment?
That in itself doesn't surprise me. For every ledge jumper, there are countless others who will look up and yell, "Jump, jump, jump!"
"Death is an art, like any other. / I do it exceptionally well," as Sylvia Plath, another suicide, once said. So I'm not surprised much less shocked that several people who'd logged on to 19 year-old Abraham Biggs's webcam site, Feels Like Ecstasy, on Justin.tv and exhorted him to make good on his threat to commit suicide. Many others didn't take it seriously and kept typing "LOL" in the chat room. Some still didn't take it seriously even after police barged into Biggs' room and found his corpse lying on his bed in his parents' house (click on the Feels Like Ecstasy link and you can still see a screengrab of Bigg's dead body, although the clip has been pulled).
Understandably, his parents are shaking with rage that so many people could've watched their son's death without anyone calling the authorities until it was too late. Justin.tv is just one of many, many domains on the internet that host webcams, which is called lifecasting.
But Biggs was diagnosed as manic depressive, bipolar disorder, a condition from which I suffer. And the only people he had for company in his final moments on earth were silent pixels representing people who insulted and encouraged him. That's why this story makes me so sick at heart.
The prevalent "wisdom" is that if people threaten suicide and don't carry through with it, they were never serious about it and can be safely ignored. Let me assure you, dear readers, nothing can be further from the truth. The thought of pure death, self-extinction, is sometimes the only fucking thing that can rouse you from your depression because it's exhilarating, the bright promise of making a new start that can be as exciting as a new love interest, escaping your tedious, depressing life, and you'll do anything, anything, God, including literally clawing out of your own skin, to escape it. Especially when you feel, like me, that your life was an accident, an unwelcome anomaly from which the world wants to purge itself.
I know from personal experience how seductive the idea of death can be. This is coming from someone who, in 1980, tied a bathrobe cord around his neck, tied it off to a heating pipe and stood on top of a radiator. One step and I wouldn't be here right now. I joined the Navy, instead. I've never admitted that before.
Of course, that was well before the internet, well before we'd reached the Nexus phase of exhibitionism.
"Is there no way out of the mind?" asked Plath.
I'm surprised she never found that answer, since she, also, was a writer. Writers, novelists, create people who don't exist, worlds that don't exist and then have to play God and reconstruct the laws of human psychology, of physics and impose order where there was only chaos. Yet so many great writers, too many to name, have chosen suicide as a way out because they couldn't impose order in their own house.
Writing is the therapy I cannot afford. It gives me a strong sense of purpose. Others haven't a distraction from death or have a strong talent for self-expression. Young Abraham Biggs was one of them. And we watched while the life bled out of him.
Even hours after the news broke, Biggs' Myspace page has hardly attracted any comments even for sympathy.