A few years ago, I got chatting to somebody on a mental health forum online. We exchanged poems and kind words and, in an online-only kind of way, we became almost close. I didn’t hear from her for a long time.
Yesterday I chanced upon the site where we met whilst looking for old poems. I posted a message on her last thread to ask how she was. I received a message from a moderator to let me know that she had passed away at the start of this year. From the messages posted, I can more or less conclude that she died from suicide.
I feel so sad. Although I never got in touch for such a long time, I did think infrequently about her and wonder where she went. It seems I only just missed speaking to her again, though this year is already halfway in. All I can do is hope the best for her loved ones.
Recently, I made over 700 followers on this blog. It feels amazing to have reached so many people. Twitter, too, is proving fruitful in terms of furthering the small online mental health community I have around me. Because that’s what it is, what we are: a community. We look out for each other. Drop messages. Tweet across the Atlantic. Pop cyber-hugs on the end of blog posts when we don’t know what else to say. It is something I feel privileged to be a part of in my small way, something I am proud of.
Today’s sad news makes me all the more aware of how real the people are behind their words. How concerned we should be, how we should look out for each other. That’s why the mean comments about attention seeking upset me so much before- you never know how much sadness is really lurking behind another person’s seemingly throwaway words.
So this is a sad post, and a happy one. I am happy to have known that person. I am happy to be in touch with all the people I have come into contact with through WordPress, through Twitter, through whatever other sites. And I am grateful. But I am also very sad.