One of the highlights of Norwescon 39 was meeting other authors that I’d only talked to on social media. One of those authors, Logan Masterson, had messaged me the month before because he was excited to be on a panel with me and doubly excited to finally meet me in person. We’d spent the last six months or so chatting on Facebook.
(Image of Logan Masterson is Copyright Ryan Long Photography)
He joked with me in private message about his social anxiety–
So if at any point in panel I start to be an ass, let me know. I don’t want to be an ass. Sometimes my social anxiety will kick in making me difficult. Kick me if you have to. 😉 I never want to be the guy who doesn’t let others get their fair time in, to the point that I have sat pretty much silent through entire panels. Other times, not so much.
He was nervous, yet excited. I knew he suffered from anxiety, but at the time, I didn’t know how serious it was. Sometimes you never do as mental illness is the master of lies.
The panel with Logan went fairly well and I left it thinking I’d run into Logan sometime else at the con. My schedule grew chaotic while my body grew tired, and before I knew it, the con was done and Logan was gone. Back to Tennessee. Back to his home and his family.
While Norwescon was great and I learned that I sold a short story to an anthology, the news of Patty Duke’s death hit me pretty hard. A sufferer herself, she’d long been an advocate of mental illness awareness. Mental illnesses of various types run in both sides of my family. Sadly, many in my family don’t see it as a true illness and believe people can just “get over it.”
My grandmother was one of those people and as April 1st (her birthday) approached, I found myself thinking about her and wishing she was still here. She never lived to see me as a published author. Despite her misconceptions and flaws, I love her. I even miss arguing with her. I was already a bit mopey, but I never expected I’d lose another friend to suicide.
I saw Logan’s post the other day where he felt lost and depressed. I had a horrific migraine–the kind with vomiting and pain so bad you wish you could move enough to go to the ER for pain meds. Between the migraine and my own grief surrounding my family, I didn’t see his post for what it was–a cry for help.
I saw some of the responses, where “friends” told him to “get over it” or said that his feelings were “too defeatist.” Some said, “been there got over that,” as if his depression were something easily remedied.
I feel guilty that I didn’t say something. That I didn’t speak up when others tried to put him down. I should have.
Whether real friends could have helped him or not, we’ll never know as he killed himself. This wonderful friend of mine who wrote with such passion is now gone from this world. One of his friends wrote a great post about a serious problem in our society, one that teaches boys and men not to cry or feel. One that punishes them for asking for help. This path makes depression deadly in men, as proven by the loss of Logan.
Depression lies. It tells us we’re nothing, that we aren’t important to anyone. No one will miss us when we’re gone. But what those successful with their suicide never see is the giant whole they leave when they are gone. There is a Logan-shaped whole in the SF/F/Horror community today that is bigger than he will ever know. Huddled around it are people he’s known his entire life all the way up to those he met this past weekend at the con.
As a writer, I feel like I should have some profound words or something written here about my friend who is now gone from this world, but I don’t. All I have is this deep sorrow that he felt so alone and so hopeless that this was his escape.
I don’t care if we know each other or if we’ve never met–You are unique in this world. You are important. If you feel overwhelmed and the lies in your mind threaten to overwhelm you, please reach out to someone. The struggle is real, but you don’t have to walk it alone.
Some may find it cliche, but it’s something I feel the semi-colon project gets right–this pain is just a moment in time. One scene in your story. It’s a pause. A semi-colon. It will pass as all things do. It doesn’t have to be your ending.
No one has to do this alone.
If you would like to help Logan’s family with funeral costs and bills, a GoFundMe page has been set up. If you can help, please do so here: