I’m sure by now everyone has heard the news. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to wrap my head fully around it. On January 25th, word went out that Internet reviewer and longtime affiliate of the That Guy With The Glasses network, Justin Carmical, died two days earlier at the age of 42. That would be sad on its own, but how it happened is even worse. Just as news of his suicide hit social media and the Internet at large, so to did word of his last moments…in which he locked himself in his bathroom with a gun and shot himself, with his wife just outside pleading with him not to.
Now I’m not going to sit here and try to assume or guess what he was thinking when he decided that was the way he wanted to go out. I’m not going to pretend I know what his widow is going through. I just hope that his family gets through this as smoothly and peacefully as possible.
News of Justin’s death bothered me a lot more than it should have, reasonably. I’m not in the internet review genre, or am one of its personalities, and I have only met Justin a handful of times at a few scattered conventions. But when I learned, in the wake of his death, that he was suffering from depression…well, that’s what really resonated with me. I may joke/grouse/lament that I’m the only one in my family who isn’t completely nuts, but the truth of the matter is that I’ve had a menagerie of mental health issues as far back as I can remember. Unfortunately they’ve gone almost completely undiagnosed throughout my life, mostly because the “advice” that I got in dealing with negative thoughts was “Don’t be so goddamn miserable.” I’m not sure of the extent of my own psychological problems, but hearing that obviously agitated them greatly.
I don’t know how strong or close Justin’s support network was, but given how…tenuous mine is with my relatives, I assumed he’d have one stronger than mine (maybe I imagine the relationships the video review personalities have with each other as overly idyllic; like most of them were good friends with one another). And as moving as it is, I would’ve killed to hear my parents say to me something akin to this:
What was especially jarring about the whole thing, I realized, the more I thought about it…is that I could just as easily be in this situation, with my depression and my emotional problems too much to handle and I decide to clock out early. The probability might have been incredibly small, but it existed period, and that is the problem.
I’m gonna take steps to resolve this issue. It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll get through this.
So I leave you with this—the result of my first meeting with Justin, wherein I don’t recognize him through his incredible cosplay, by my own admission come off like a gibbering loon once I do, but he still found me cool to hang out with. He even recognized me at later conventions.
We’ll all miss you, Justin.