A little over a decade ago, Deena Nyer Mendlowitz and Susan Messing began a conversation on Facebook Messenger that would grow to more than 5,000 chats and reveal the complexity of suicidal suffering.

Their conversations – the kind that typically happen in hushed tones, if they happen at all – are full of violent fantasies and fragments of undelivered goodbyes, reflections on the limits of psychic pain and the capacity to heal. There is frustration and discomfort and desperation, but also encouragement, acceptance, optimism.

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