A couple of years ago, I received a random message from someone on ICQ. (I’ll call her May) I was bored, and without driver’s license at the time, so we talked every day or so. I learned that May is a 23 year-old female living in Thailand. (I’m in Oklahoma, USA) For me, the conversations were always very casual. I thought it fascinating to hear from her what the world was like on the other side of the globe, and it was just an interesting diversion. We even talked on the phone a few times when I could find a good international phonecard. When the holidays came around, she wanted to send a card, so I provided my physical address. There was -no- hint of craziness yet, or I wouldn’t have given out that kind of information.
Weeks went by, and I noticed that she seemed to grow more attached, to the point where it seemed wise to tell her about my then-boyfriend, Jon. She was pretty hysterical about it for a bit, but calmed down soon enough. It was obvious now that she wasn’t stable, so I tried to break contact by stopping ICQ conversations and not replying to email, which just made her more determined to get into contact with me. Shortly after, she professed her undying love. I could have really spewed Pepsi all over the computer monitor.
I tried to calmly explain that there were -serious- issues with her being in love with me, not the least of which were that I was 16 at the time, and a world away. Nothing got through the “crazy sheild,” so I completely broke contact this time. She was blocked on ICQ, and I didn’t respond to any email at all, no matter how pitiful and desperate they became. Because of some computer problems, I got rid of ICQ as well, and never felt a need to download it again, as I had all of my contact on AIM.
Her email increased despite that she never got anything back. She knitted me a hideous puppy dog scarf for Christmas which she sent via airmail, as well as a Valentine’s Day card and some other generic cards.
She resigned from her job, but ended up going back so she could have easy Internet access to get in touch with me. She quit a second time, and moved in with her parents in another city, still finding time to send me an email every few days. Her parents finally got her to find a job, but it was in another, more rural, province where she won’t have much access to computers. By now the emails are becoming panicked, and peppered with comments about how she “doesn’t want this world,” doesn’t want to live, etc. The standard passive-agressive pap.
I felt like it would be better not to encourage her by responding, so I continued to hold off contact. So, she started calling. If I happened to pick up, I just made an excuse and hung up, and obviously didn’t return messages on the answering machine.
Things kind of came to a head in the last couple of days. I got ICQ again at the urging of a friend, and she saw me online and tried to start a conversation. I put her on the ignore list, as well as two more ICQ numbers with the same address. She registered two more numbers and tried to talk to me again, both of which I blocked.
Tonight I got an absolutely insane email from May, about how horrible she feels, how much she hates life and the world, and how much she would love to die. The earlier messages had thinly veiled suicide threats, but I’m worried that she might have finally gotten up the courage to hurt herself if I don’t respond.
So, my question to the Dopers is this: Should I send a brief message explaining (in total bullshit, of course) that I will not be online again as I’m having some imaginary computer problem and will be going off to school, or should I keep ignoring her? Also, are there any other viable solutions that anyone can think of? As crazy as May is, I don’t want to be responsible for her hurting herself.
Thanks in advance for any help, and I appreciate anyone who did slogging through the OP.