A friend of mine recently tried to kill herself. Alone in the house for a couple of hours, she experienced a brand of clinical depression that was more painful than her fear of death, so she consumed three-quarters of a bottle of Advil.

A couple hours later, the family returned. They found her on the floor and called the ambulance. Dramatic prose escapes me, so I leave the specifics to the reader's imagination. Later, she experienced almost exactly what the author of this story writes about: a two-way (down, then up) activated charcoal milkshake, nurses who didn't even pretend to care, a terrifying psych ward, a subscription to powerful anti-depressant, and a gradual recovery.

Thank God this story has a happy ending: she is alive and recovering rapidly. But it wasn't warning signs that saved her. It wasn't well-meaning but misguided advice to suicidal teenagers ("Make a list of why your life sucks and then realize that it's salvagable after all"). And it certainly wasn't a trite, self-satisfied song like "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." No, what saved her life was a simple miscalculation: she took Advil and her family arrived home too quickly. Had she chosen Tylenol instead, she wouldn't have had a chance in hell. Apparently Tylenol ravages your liver that much faster. And here's the kicker: The two medicines were literally right next to one another in the cabinet, and it was only the incorrect preconception that Advil must be more powerful since it is traditionally a more adult medication that caused her hand to lift the left bottle rather than the right. Else, she would have died on the floor within the hour.

Misinformation saved my best friend's life less than one month ago.

Let's imagine that she had picked the other popular alternative to pill-popping: wrist-slashing. The common notion of wrist-slashing is a single, lateral cut on each wrist. As this node reminds us, said cuts do maximal damage to the tendons and minimal damage to the veins, thereby minimizing the victim's ability to make further cuts and maximizing the probability that the wounds will close before she suffers lethal blood loss. The node then helpfully outlines the exact procedure to follow for maximum likelihood of death with minimal discomfort. If you read this node as it currently stands and then try to kill yourself with a razor blade, odds are you will succeed.

I'm not spouting flames or submitting nuke requests or writing angry letters to the editor. I am simply asking... pleading... that before you write, you consider the implications very, very carefully. Information often means the difference between life and death. The freedom of speech is a profound and fundamental right, and it deserves to be treated with all the responsibility that such power demands. One ought to handle information like any other potential weapon: with care. It could save someone's life.

Think before you node.