Considering suicide's effects...

For those of you who keep up with my Twitter feed, you already know that I'm lamenting the loss of one of our young guys from our church congregation. (Details of his suicide are at his school's site.)

I didn't know Eric Harms well. When I was doing video work at our church, he was occasionally singing on worship team or performing in a drama. Everything that people have said in his Facebook group seems true -- he was nice and funny and talented.

So, a whole bunch of various thoughts come to mind, all jumbled together:
  • Suicide is really, really hurtful for the people left behind.
  • Are we "glamorizing suicide" by the outpouring of love for Eric and support for his family?
  • Was Eric's happiness a "shell" or an act? Or did something change recently?
  • Is suicide prevention really possible? I'd bet money that suicidal people thing something like, "It was a poor choice for him, but it's the only option for me."
And a more "academic" question: How does the "virtual community" of Facebook, blogs, e-mails, etc. help or hinder people who are struggling? The actual answer is that it probably just acts as a "magnifier" for feelings of support or isolation or glamor (much like Michael Wesch's argument in a totally different context).

For some of us, I guess we blog through our feelings.



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