(Trigger warnings: self-harm, depression, suicide, bullying, dark side of fandom.)
This is a really difficult post for me to write because of the content matter… but also because I am not as involved in day-to-day fandom as I once was. I read fic on my Kindle before bed, not interacting with anyone, and my Tumblr use is limited to the occasional dashboard scroll/reblogging and to clicking on links my friends send me. So by the time I see that something is happening in fandom, it has been happening, and I usually do not feel remotely qualified to comment on anything.
But today is different.
Over the past few days, I have seen rumblings on Twitter about things getting really ugly in Supernatural (SPN) fandom on Tumblr. Due to the work of the loud few, I have found that SPN fandom has made me feel unsafe even as a bystander–too many personal attacks over things as inconsequential as ship wars–so I have distanced myself from it in general. Heeding the trigger warnings that accompanied many of the posts retweeted in my Twitter timeline, I have stayed away from whatever’s been going on. But today, the tweets increased in desperation and despair… so I clicked.
And holy crap, is this awful.
Apparently, someone has been targeting suicidal/depressed members of fandom and pushing them towards self-harm. A member of fandom explains it in more detail here, and someone has collected some of the (fucking awful) messages here. The most upsetting part, for me, is seeing that there is a status list that details which users were targeted and how they are doing right now–a list of actual people who are suffering and have, in some cases, hurt themselves over the handiwork of some sick, pathetic, hateful person(s?) who is persecuting them.
This is, as many of you can imagine, incredibly hard for me to see. It is difficult for anyone, of course–it’s awful–but it is especially harrowing for me because it resonates so soundly with what my headspace has been lately.
I have stood at the edge of that precipice, staring into the abyss as the void calls my name. I have held the knife, the scissors, the pill bottle. I have closed my eyes and simply wished that I could just cease to exist. I have closed my eyes and curled up in a corner and told myself I am invisible. I have imagined scenarios where the people around me go on with their life as if I had never existed because I was just that insignificant.
I have, in short, lied to myself.
So this is a message for everyone who has received such hateful messages, or who has read them and felt touched by them, or who has said any of those words to themselves.
YOU MATTER. To someone. Maybe even to me. And you might not know it.
Last Sunday, I mourned the death of an acquaintance and I pointed out that we had not had much interaction–but that his absence is still a void, however small.
The same is true for you, person reading this. If you were to cease to exist for whatever reason, PEOPLE WOULD MISS YOU. People would mourn your passing. People would wonder what they could have done to save you. People will blame themselves. People would wish that they could have you back. (But no, I am not telling you to live for other people. I am telling you that there are still things worth living for and people worth sharing those things with. There are experiences you have not had and people you have not met, and they are worth finding. YOU are worth finding and you deserve all those moments that you have yet to reach.)
I will not lie to you. I know that reading these words will not fill the emptiness you might feel. It will not quiet the noise in your head. It will not envelop you in warmth. It will not make everything better. Getting better takes hard work and patience and time. But you DESERVE TO LIVE. You deserve the effort that it will take to get better. You deserve the bright days that will dawn despite the heaviness around you. You deserve the moments where you will look out into the universe and say thank you whether you believe in a higher being or not.
Somewhere around you there are people who LOVE you, even if they don’t know how to show it or if they’re not comfortable telling you. They might even be people who have hurt you, intentionally or unintentionally, because everybody’s a little bit fucked up and some people are a lot fucked up. That doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, especially because you deserve better–but I want you to know that you are NOT ALONE and that your feelings are VALID and that you have a right to feel your feelings, period.
I know I might not know you–since I am posting this on Tumblr as well and people who have no idea who I am will read this–but I can promise you that this is all true. And I know because I have been you, I am you in this very moment–heartbroken and disillusioned and afraid.
But 2014 has taken too many fucking lives, depression has taken too many lives, and you and I? We need to survive. We need to endure. We need to live, one day at a time, one moment at a time.
So go and message someone you love. Right now. On your platform of choice. Tell them you love them. Thank them for their role in your life. Tell them you are glad they exist. And if there is someone else awake in your house? Go hug them. Tell them you are glad they are with you right now. Talk to them, if you can. Whisper, laugh, cry… maybe even dance. And savor that you are here, that it is now, that you are alive… and hang on to that feeling, to the wonder of gratitude, so that you can breathe through another night and live through another day.
And know that, if you are reading this, I am thinking about you and I love you simply because you are worthy of love.