Okay, you know what? This has got to stop.

Daylogs are great. Really, they are. I think they are a wonderful repository for anecdotes, memories, and all manner of everything that doesn't belong in Everything. Daylogs are sort of the smoking section of E2. Even if you don't normally smoke, you're likely to wind up here at some time or other.

So what's your problem, Mitzi?

I'm glad you asked.

My problem is this: daylogs as suicide notes.

I know we're all living in difficult times. I know that a war is raging, that many of you are in transition, that some of you have illnesses and bills and all manner of burdens to shoulder. I know life is hard sometimes, and that winter is especially hard when Spring teases you with a few mild days and withdraws with a cruel smile.

I also know that I'm not alone when I say that I read the daylogs daily. Why? Because I like to keep up with you all. I don't labor under the delusion that we're all friends, or that we're a real family, but I do believe that the way E2 is set up lends itself to a sense of actual community that's rare on the internet. Some of you people are my real friends, and some of the friendships I've formed began right here in the sweet little ghetto of daylogs. I messaged you - or maybe you messaged me; who knows? We started messaging one another regularly, progressed to AIM, and you wound up sleeping on my couch on your way to your next Great Adventure. So I think it's high time we discussed something a little controversial here.

Since the beginning of 2003, I have read no fewer than four - count them, FOUR - daylogs where suicide was directly threatened. I've read several others where it's more of a veiled threat, but it still pervades the writeup like the distant smell of rotting meat. Some of you may not be aware of this, but E2 was rocked by a suicide not long ago. A young man who had his whole life ahead of him, a talented and intelligent and young and loved member of our community, decided to take his own life. He left behind a bereaved family, a confused, bewildered, and hurting group of friends, and a metric fuckton of guilt, anger, and grief. So when I read a daylog that threatens self-extinction, I take it very seriously, and I'll wager I'm not the only one who does.

So I'm asking you to do me a favor. Hell, do us all a favor - yourself included. Next time you're feeling suicidal, write it down on paper. Write it out of your system. Pretend the ink is blood, if you must - pour it all out onto the paper. Every last shred of pain, of angst, of garbage. Then do this: sleep. Sleep on it. Don't tell anyone what you've written, just put it aside and go to sleep. When you wake up in the morning, make yourself a cup of tea, have a bagel, and curl up with the stuff you wrote the night before. Feel sorry for the person who wrote those words. Cry some. Cuddle a cat or smoke a cigarette. Download and listen to Kate Bush's song Love and Anger. Listen to it again. Go for a long walk, then come back and read it again.

Now pretend that you're your mother, or your sister, or your best friend, and that you're reading those words from their perspective. Then pretend something else: pretend you're a stranger to yourself, and you're reading those words on a website. Those threatening, lonely, empty words. Just for a minute, pretend you are as helpless and frustrated and powerless to help as I am right now. Pretend that somewhere in the world there is a talented, intelligent, and sensitive person whose words you've often read, whose life has touched your own, however peripherally. Now pretend that you are reading words from that person that are full of self-hatred, self-recrimination, and threats of death.

Now go read karma debt's writeup. It's right here. Pay close attention not only to the anguish there but to the vast number of people who were (and still are) affected by that decision.

Now go back to your own letter and burn the goddam thing. Burn it as though it's a snake, because you know what? It is a snake. It's worse than that; it's a malignant seed that can easily grow into something black and poisonous and festering. I'm not going to give you a big rah-rah Life is Beautiful pep talk here. You know where and how to get help; you're a smart cookie. But for god's sake, mine, and yours - GET THE HELP.

My entire life has been circumscribed by death, thanks to people who refused to get the help they needed - the help we all sometimes need - to survive. So maybe it's selfish of me, but I'm going to ask you this anyway. If you can't see past your own pain, then think of mine. Think of Adam's family if you can't think of your own. Think of the community here. And please, please get the help you need, because I can't do it for you. We can't do it for you.

And it is a particularly brutal thing to telegraph your deathwish to an entire community - a community who cares about you but who is essentially helpless to do anything but watch and pray and hope for the best.

I have received a remarkable number of messages about this daylog in the short time it's been up, and someone had a good idea - this person basically asked me, "Well, if you don't want to read that stuff, what do you have to contribute?" Again, I'm glad you asked. Recently, I started a usergroup for people here who are mentally ill or who have family and friends who suffer from mental illness. The group is called bipolars, and I'm willing to open it up to anyone who is suffering from severe depressive disorder as well. It's not a substitute for good mental health care, of course - it can't even be considered a "support group" per se. It's a relatively low-traffic group for people who are dealing with the pain and alienation of mental illness, and it's been a godsend for me and a number of the folks who have joined it.

Help is available, and even if this group can't fix what ails you, someone in the group has likely felt what you're feeling right now and can point you in the direction of the right sort of help. If you decide that bipolars sounds like a good group for you, message me and we'll discuss it. Please know that I am not advocating censorship, just sense. Know also that I wrote this daylog with tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach. Nothing, but nothing, has the venomous ripple effect that suicide has. When you do yourself in, you kill a lot more than yourself. Trust me.