Being the selected wisdom of a certain writer of adventure picto-books, Gail Simone.


Ask me anything, anything except that
14 April 11

Last Night (Trigger Warning, Suicide Discussion)

It was an emotional day yesterday. I didn’t want to talk about the effect it was having on me, because, well, who cares, and it’s personal, but it was definitely taking a toll.

I went on Twitter at the end of the day, and was just, I don’t know, blathering a bit, nothing meaningful (I don’t find Twitter a useful forum for meaningful stuff as a rule), when a reader posted that she was contemplating suicide.

Not tomorrow, but that same night. She said something about how it was entirely her fault and she can’t wait any longer.

I don’t use the word ‘trigger’ a lot, and not at all in public, not in the way it is used sometimes here on Tumblr. But my heart rate and breathing went through the roof and I nearly went into a panic.

First, I volunteered for many years at crisis centers. I’ve HAD those kinds of phone calls, where you don’t know if you mess up, if the other person will be alive when you hang up.Β 

Second, I’ve had READERS say these things about wanting to harm themselves or commit suicide. It’s not common but it’s happened. For whatever reason, they didn’t feel they had anyone else to turn to.

And third, some of you may have seen them, there’s been a little explosion of posts on comicsecrets and elsewhere that people have actually said that comics I’ve written kept them from harming themselves. So I’m already very…let’s say my empathy is on high and I’m edgy about this topic.

But it’s been a while since the Crisis Center training and I forgot it all and just started begging her not to do this, not to hurt herself.

She sent another message, similar to the first. I sent her a direct message again begging her just to stop, to take a moment and think. I admit it, by this point, I’m panicked. I don’t have her contact info, I am trying to think of stall tactics, trying to think if Twitter can help with info, trying to decide if retweeting will bring in some friends of hers, holy shit, I was freaking out. It was just awful and WAY too similar, like pstd. I’m not saying this is about me, just saying I was not at 100% by any means.

So she sends a DM back, and…

…it’s an ad for some video game.

This is someone I knew, as a reader, who had reached out to me for help in the past and that I have tried to help, and this whole suicide thing is some viral nightmare to get people to DM so they can send advertisements. I guess it’s called an ARG, which I admit I’d never heard of til last night.

I don’t want to come down to hard on this young woman. I don’t want to make her feel bad.

But that was one of the meanest things I’ve experienced online. To say that to people who may have actually BEEN the product of a family with suicide in it, or may have survived suicide, or thought about suicide…

…to send an AD for a VIDEO GAME?

It’s some sort of complicated role-playing things, but it’s indistinguishable in tone from how people often talk when they are confused and ready to harm themselves. It felt like I was right back there trying to help someone not kill themselves.

I don’t mind being hoaxed, I don’t care if I looked silly.

But holy shit, what happens if someone genuinely needs help next time and people just assume it’s an ad, long enough to delay helping that person?

It’s inhumane. I was awake all night trying to understand who would come up with an idea like that.

Sorry, just had to talk that out. But if you see someone participating in something like this, for God’s sake, talk them out of it. Someone’s going to suffer every time it happens, or WORSE.

A very, very rough night.

  1. jaybushman reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    My pleasure. Hope you enjoy it. Now we need to figure out how to get the hoaxer to listen to it too.
  2. gailsimone reblogged this from areyouthatguy and added:
    It’s been an interesting day (and warning, some ugly language coming up)…so far, I’ve been called stupid, a dumb bitch,...
  3. beardybabble said: Gail, reading this, I just want to tear up and send a hug your way. I’ve been lucky enough to meet you twice in Chicago, so I knew what a lovely person you are already. But your compassion and realness here just blow me away. Thank you for being you!
  4. areyouthatguy reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    I’m editing an interview where we talk about how jumpy studios are about letting fans play with their IP. And then this...
  5. themyth reblogged this from gailsimone
  6. oryancox reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    They get the same attention because they still do happen. It’s extremely cynical to just straight up never believe that...
  7. chialynn reblogged this from jaybushman
  8. sexylipscar reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    I’ve been following the Portal 2 ARG, even if it’s only in my peripheral, and I can vouch that this girl’s actions are...
  9. ealperin reblogged this from principia-coh and added:
    Possible. What does the term “googlebomb” mean? (So I’m up to speed on the internet/tumblr lingo, here. ^_-)
  10. principia-coh reblogged this from ealperin and added:
    And here I thought she was being polite so Valve didn’t get googlebombed.
  11. fuchsiaprose reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    I enjoy ARGs. I love Valve… love them less every year I don’t have Half-Life 3 in my hands, but what can I do? They’re...
  12. newageamazon reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    And honestly, if Valve isn’t aware of the ARG and someone is doing this sort of thing, then they NEED to be aware....
  13. sapphoshands reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    See, this reads to me like it was orchestrated as a viral marketing ploy gone bad. I tried a quick google, but...
  14. delphiburke said: That is terrible.
  15. asatira reblogged this from elfgrove and added:
    Oh, gods. That is beyond words. That is despicable. Toying around with emotions that way to advertise a game. Using even...
  16. ladyloveandjustice said: Ugh, how terrible. So sorry, Gail
  17. comradewodka reblogged this from saphire-dance and added:
    No, please read the other reblogs before you condemn Valve, you guys. This idiot has nothing to do with Valve, her...
  18. elfgrove reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    Never. NEVER FUCKING OKAY. Suicide is not a joke. It is not a gimmick. It is sure as hell not an advertising campaign. I...
  19. beth4short reblogged this from 1653
  20. elfgrove said: As a survivor of a family suicide death and been near to it myself a number of times… That is not the least bit freaking acceptable. NOT AT ALL. EVER. Oh god. I cannot deal.
  21. missivesfromghosts said: Wow, I’m sorry that happened to you Gail. And that kind of spam message is WILDLY inappropriate for the exact reasons you described.
  22. ivydoor reblogged this from principia-coh and added:
    I would like to know just so I don’t ever give them any of my money. JFC. What the hell is wrong with people?
  23. feistyakashickitten reblogged this from 1653
  24. thehappysorceress reblogged this from gailsimone and added:
    I saw this happening & was equally concerned. To learn what it was really about? That this ‘cry for help’ was, in fact,...
  25. constellation-funk said: I think you can definitely come down hard on that woman, because that is one of the, if possibly not THE, most crass, repulsive ways of exploiting a serious illness for advertising I’ve ever seen. I literally can’t put my level of disgust into words.
  26. 1653 reblogged this from foxkings
  27. kawaiipanties said: That’s utterly ridiculous and I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I can’t believe someone would be so heartless as to use potential suicide as an advertising gimmick. Way to devalue the severity of those situations, advertisers.
  28. subsistingonarsenic said: After all the discussions yesterday, I’m sorry to hear you had to go through this on top of it. Your compassion for and engagement with all sorts of communities is appreciated.
  29. ealperin said: No one should joke about crap like that! >:[
  30. oryancox said: What in the hell is wrong with people? This wasn’t some bot thing but a real person pretending to be suicidal to advertise a video game? What the shit? I would report that Twitter because that goes way beyond bad taste.
Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh