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Date: 09/05/12

Last Night, Twitter Saved A Life

I seem to have this unfortunate tendency to stumble upon things which disturb me. I swear I don't go looking for them. As I have stated before, if I'm walking through a graveyard (I have to use that word for it, because I can never spell the other one right; you know, the one that begins with 'c') I always manage to find the one gravestone which is festooned with little toys and has only one date on it.

Last night, I went to a site which I visit every day, and to which I have contributed from time to time. In the sidebar, they show the most recent entries in their Twitter feed (I don't 'do' Twitter myself). These are nearly always to do with subjects dealt with on that particular site, but last night there was a re-Tweet of what must amount to the Web equivalent of the old All Points Bulletin. Someone was very worried about a fellow Tweeter whose feed was showing troubling messages which clearly indicated on ongoing slow suicide attempt. Fool me, I just had to click on the link, didn't I?

I won't quote any of the Tweets here because it just wouldn't be right, nor will I link to anything about the story, but it was very clear that the person who was intent on broadcasting his own demise was in a very bad way to start with, and the messages were getting more and more disturbing as time went on. The re-Tweeter was putting out an S.O.S. for anyone who actually knew the person and who could get to him before all the pills took effect.

I went to bed in a cold dither. When I got up this morning, I went back to the site where I'd seen the emergency re-Tweet, but it had quite clearly been removed. This could have meant anything, but I didn't have the time to go looking.

It was either morbid curiosity or simply a sense of needing closure in one direction or the other which led me - a few minutes ago - to go into my browsing history to re-locate the Twitter feed in question.

To my intense relief, I found that the person who was undergoing the crisis was still alive and - for certain values of the word - well. It seems that someone knew someone who knew someone who...with the upshot that the police (who do, after all, have their uses) and paramedics found him in time.

He has been on Twitter again today, thanking those who did all they could and those who have been wishing him well. It seems he has a history of psychiatric illness and had been unsuccessful in getting the help and intervention which he needed to stay on track. With any luck, things will now get better for him.

Restores one's faith in humanity, that.