explainer

The content of the deadly text messages that have landed Michelle Carter in prison.

This post deals with the subject of suicide and might be triggering for some readers.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.

It was a Saturday night when 17-year-old Michelle Carter, a high school student from Massachusetts, sent a series of deadly text messages.

“I think your parents know you’re in a really bad place. I’m not saying they want you to do it but I honestly feel like they can accept it,” she wrote to her 18-year-old boyfriend, Conrad Roy.

Roy had met Carter two years prior during a family vacation in Florida. The had only met a handful of times, but maintained a long distance relationship.

Both struggled with mental health issues. Roy had been diagnosed with depression and social anxiety, and was undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy. Carter had first developed an eating disorder at eight years of age, and was seeing a counsellor to address self harm.

Carter was initially supportive of Roy, encouraging him to seek help between 2012 and 2014. But then, it seems, something switched.

This was the text message exchange that took place between July 10 and July 12, 2014, that led to the death of Roy, and the conviction of Carter, who will now spend two and a half years in prison.

CARTER: They will move on for you because they know that’s what you would have wanted. They know you wouldn’t want them to be sad and depressed and be angry and guilty. They know you want them to live their lives and be happy. So they will for you. You’re right. You need to stop thinking about this and just do it because over turning always kills, over thinking.

ROY: Yeah, it does. I’ve been thinking about it for too long.

CARTER: Always smile, and, yeah, you have to just do it. You have everything you need. There is no way you can fail. Tonight is the night. It’s now or never.

When he said he was fearful of dying:

CARTER: [D]on’t be scared. You already made this decision and if you don’t do it tonight you’re gonna be thinking about it all the time and stuff all the rest of your life and be miserable.

You’re finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. No more bad thoughts and worries. You’ll be free.

It’s okay to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die. I would be concerned if you weren’t scared, but I know how bad you want this and how bad you want to be happy. You have to face your fears for what you want.

And then on the  morning of the day of his death:

CARTER: You can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.

ROY: I don’t get it either. I don’t know.

CARTER: So I guess you aren’t gonna do it then. All that for nothing. I’m just confused. Like you were so ready and determined.

ROY: I am gonna eventually. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for but I have everything lined up.

CARTER: No, you’re not, Conrad. Last night was it. You kept pushing it off and you say you’ll do it, but you never do. It’s always gonna be that way if you don’t take action. You’re just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off. You just have to do it. Do you want to do it now?

ROY: Is it too late? I don’t know. It’s already light outside. I’m gonna go back too sleep. Love you. I’ll text you tomorrow.

CARTER: No. It’s probably the best time now because everyone is sleeping. Just go somewhere in your truck and no one is really out there right now because it’s an awkward time. If you don’t do it now you’re never gonna do it, and you can say you’ll do it tomorrow, but you probably won’t. Tonight? Love you.

ROY: Thank you.

CARTER: For what. Are you awake?

ROY: Yes.

CARTER: Are you gonna do it today?

ROY: Yes.

CARTER: Like in the day time?

ROY: Should I?

CARTER: Yeah, it’s less suspicious. You won’t think about it as much and you’ll get it over with instead of wait until the night.

ROY: Yeah then I will. Like where? Like I could go in any enclosed area.

CARTER: Go in your truck and drive in a parking lot somewhere, to a park or something. Do it like early. Do it now, like early.

ROY: Didn’t we say this was suspicious?

CARTER: No. I think night is more suspicious, a kid sitting in his car turning on the radio. Just do it. It wouldn’t be suspicious and it won’t take long.

And more:

CARTER: You’re so hesitant because you keeping over thinking it and keep pushing it off. You just need to do it, Conrad. The more you push it off, the more it will eat at you. You’re ready and prepared. All you have to do is tum the generator on and you will be free and happy. No more pushing it off. No more waiting.

ROY: You’re right.

CARTER: If you want it as bad as you say you do it’s time to do it today.

CARTER: I would never leave you. You’re the love of my life, my boyfriend. You are my heart. I’d never leave you.

ROY: Aw.

CARTER: : I love you.

ROY: Love you, too.

And then hours later:

CARTER: I thought you wanted to do this. This time is right and you’re ready. You just need to do it. You can’t keep living this way. You just need to do it like you did the last time and not think about it and just do it, babe. You can’t keep doing this every day.

ROY: I do want to but I’m like freaking for my family I guess. I don’t know.

CARTER: Conrad, I told you I’ll take care of them. Everyone will take care of them to make sure they won’t be alone and people will help them get through it. We talked about this and they will be okay and accept it. People who commit suicide don’t think this much. They just could do it.

ROY: I know. I know. LOL. Thinking just drives me more crazy.

CARTER: You just need to do it, Conrad, or I’m gonna get you help. You can’t keep doing this everyday.

ROY: Okay. I’m gonna do it today.

CARTER: You promise?

ROY: I promise, babe. I have to now.

CARTER: Like right now?

Later that day at 6pm the final series of text messages

ROY: Okay. Well, I’m bringing my sisters for ice cream.

CARTER: So will you do it when you get back?

ROY: Yup, I’ll go right there.

CARTER: Okay.

ROY: Love you.

CARTER: I love so much.

ROY: (Smiley face).

CARTER: 33.

ROY: Ha ha. What are you doing?

CARTER: Nothing really. Just resting.

ROY: Okay. Ha, ha I’m procrastinating.

CARTER: Yeah, ha ha, I know. Are you back?

ROY: Yup.

CARTER: So it’s time?

ROY: Oh, it’s been time.

CARTER: Are you gonna do it now?

ROY: I just don’t know how to leave them, you know.

CARTER: Say you’re gonna go the store or something.

ROY: Like, I want them to know that I love them.

CARTER: They know. That’s one thing they definitely know. You’re over thinking.

ROY: I know I’m over thinking. I’ve been over thinking for a while now.

CARTER: I know. You just have to do it like you said. Are you gonna do it now?

ROY: I still haven’t left yet, ha ha.

CARTER: Why?

ROY: Leaving now.

CARTER: Okay. You can do this.

ROY: Okay. I’m almost there.

That was his final message.

That evening, Roy died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a Kmart car park.

Carter never called emergency services – an act which may have saved him.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.

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