Thursday, October 17, 2013

Comic Book Writer Matt Fraction Gives Heartening Advice to a Suicidal Fan

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

For one of life's inescapable experiences, death sure is a bitch, isn't it?

And with the pressures of the world, with variations in brain chemistry, with one truly terrible day, people will consider hastening their way to death — the sad story of Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl is evidence of that.

Matt Fraction, a comic book writer whose work on Hawkeye, Iron Man, Casanova and so many more titles has made him renowned in the world of comic books, knows this all too well, having suffered from depression and addiction for most of his adult life. He's made those topics into themes during his career, and has recovered from dark times to experience success.

So when he got a question from a suicidal fan, asking if there's ever is a time to consider suicide a legitimate alternative, Fraction had this to offer:

...the first time i came close to suicide was on a thanksgiving night. i’d eaten well and then as the house shut down i went into the bathroom, drew a bath as hot as i could manage to stand, and climbed into the tub with a razor blade.

As i started to cut, as the corner touched my skin and that jolt of pain fired into my head, i stopped and thought — y’know, last chance. Are you SURE?

And i was tired. I sounded like you, that i knew there’d be ups again and downs but i was just so fucking TIRED i couldn’t stand the thought of having to get there. I felt this… this never-ending crush of days that were grey and tepid but for some reason i was supposed to greet each one with a smile. the constant pressure of having to keep my shit in all the time was just exhausting.

I wondered, then — well, is there anything you’re curious about. Anything you want to see play out. And i thought of a comic i was reading and i’d not figured out the end of the current storyline. And i realized I had curiosity. And that was the hook i’d hang my hat on. that by wanting to see how something played out I wasn’t really ready. That little sprout of a thing poking up through all that black earth kept me around a little longer.

I realized then that it had been so long since i’d laughed. I was numbed out and shut down and just… i missed laughing. maybe if i laughed a little i could get moving again. so i’d wait for my comic to conclude, try to find a few laughs, and then reevaluate.


I guess last I’d say… I’d say that, look — if you reached out to me for an answer, than I have to reach back out to you and insist you hear it. Because it means, what, you know me? My work? You read my stuff and thought, well, fuck, if anyone would know why I shouldn’t end my life, if anyone alive is QUALIFIED TO SAVE ME it’s the guy that had britney spears punch a bear? okay — okay, then, so as THAT GUY I’m saying: Get help. Now, today, tonight, whenever — get to a phone and find a doctor that can try to help you heal, that can try to recolorize your world again, that can help you start caring again. All you need is that one tiny thing, that speck, that little grain of sand. the World Series, AVENGERS 2, Tina Fey’s new show, the first issue of PRETTY DEADLY, some slice of the world you’ve never seen, some drink you love, who the fuck will love your dog like you do if you’re gone, what if jabrams KILLS it on the new STAR WARS, the hell are you doing for Halloween, you ever feed a dolphin with your bare hand? because i have and I am fucking telling you IT IS A THING TO EXPERIENCE and oh god WHAT FUCKING FONT WILL STARBUCKS USE ON THE CHRISTMAS DRINK SLEEVES THIS YEAR — i don’t care what or how dumb but i promise you somewhere in your life is that one fleck of dust that can help start you on the road back. That’s all it takes. One fucking mote, drifting through your head.

And because you asked me I am answering you because i know, motherfucker, i know, i know, i know the hole you are fucking in because I was there myself and if you look hard you can still see my writing on those walls and if you stare long enough i swear to god it’s pointing to up

As someone who has felt the weight of depression on his shoulders before, and who knows that it might be out there, looming, no matter what happens, I've been there — on both Fraction's side, and the reader's side. But this response to a reader, a reminder that out of everything on the planet, there's gotta be one thing out there worth hanging onto for just a bit longer until you figure things out, is one of the greatest things I've ever read.

My best to Fraction, and all of the positive energy I can muster to his reader, whiskeyjack.

[Matt Fraction]

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