'I Was Here' and anger at suicide 'support' groups (TW)
Do you ever read a book that well and truly makes you sit back and think? Think about all the could haves and would haves and should haves, and maybe even more importantly, should not haves. I find books that do this very rare, but brilliant for me. However, I find that it's not just books that provoke this. My own mental health does too, especially when I'm feeling iffy. Wondering what could happen 'if' you did or didn't do something is a rabbit hole of anxiety. But what if somebody's there, telling you a skewed version of all the could haves? Would it be enough to tip you over the edge?
I Was Here shows you what happens when someone's there, giving your depressed mind the could haves and should haves. The main character, Meg, committed suicide. And no one could understand how or why she would do that alone, unguided. The truth is, she didn't. She had a sickening online suicide 'support' group 'helping' her along the way.
And this made me think. Think about the likelyhood of those 'support' groups existing online, when the only 'support' they offer is coaxing you into ending your life, showing you the hows and whys and guiding you through the act of convincing yourself that it's the only way forward.
It makes me wonder what I would have done, had I found a 'support' group like this when I was at my lowest point. How damaging it would have been. And how it may have taken my considerations about ending my own life out of my hands. The thing is, when you feel that low, you're vulnerable to others and what they say. I can only imagine having the voices and the words of the 'support' group ringing in my ears, confirming all the niggling little concerns at the back of my mind.
I Was Here highlights the impact of those groups. Meg leaves our world, but the people who loved her are left behind. People who would do anything to get her back. They feel (rightly) angry at the group, and betrayed by the fact that another human being could manipulate someone's worst thoughts into suicide. And yes, Meg may have done it anyway, but it would have been a decision that she made for herself, by herself.
I Was Here shows that there's always another option. There's someone who would do anything to go back and have you tell them your deepest darkest fears, and offer help. If you're ever considering looking at one of these groups online, or want to leave one but are scared of the loneliness you'll face, remember that you can talk to the Samaritans at any time. You can join a real suicide support group that will help make things better, not worse. One day I hope these online groups will be a thing of the past, but for now all we can do is hope, and campaign against them, and move someone's decision to whether or not to end their life back into their own hands.