In her young life, Cheslie Kryst was
an attorney and a correspondent for Extra TV.
She was a fashion icon, who recorded video blogs on her YouTube channel,
and wrote a blog entitled “White Collar Glam” encouraging and offering other young
woman, fashion design tips on clothing, jewelry, hair, and makeup. Some
of the items that she sold and put together were for sale on her Amazon
storefront. And Cheslie was an encourager. In an interview with a Dress for Success
ambassador, one of the things she said was “If you fail or things don’t go your
way, don’t RSVP to the pity party. But
instead find the lesson in it and celebrate the failures. They will help you go to the next level.” In her last Instagram post, she wrote to her
followers, “May this day bring you peace and rest.” This from someone who takes her own life. Just hours later. Bright, beautiful, young, encourager,
advocate of (black) women, fashion icon, attorney, news correspondent, beauty
queen. Not what or who we would picture
as not happy. Or depressed. Or lonely.
Not what we would expect.
I shared some time ago about suicide
and the feelings and emotions that go before it. The depression, the feeling of abandonment,
the invisibility one experiences, not feeling like you matter to anyone, not
even those who are closest to you. The dread
of sometimes how we look to others, or even how much better someone is than
us. It’s an array of feelings and emotions
and doubts and insecurities and pain. So
much pain. And it doesn’t matter who you
are, what you do or who you know. The
celebrity deaths of Robin Williams, Kate Spade, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Anthony Bourdain, and even
Marilyn Monroe garnered major attention because it was so unexpected. These were people who were doing a lot of
things and they were surrounded by people who loved them, who knew them, but
never saw it coming.
Truth is those who are dealing with
emotional issues, mental health issues, depression, and the like, have no
look. There is nothing about them that
says, “Something I am dealing with is too much for me to bear.” Looking at them, examining their lives,
there is nothing that says, “I’m depressed and I need help.” Even, from their pics or social media status,
there is nothing that says, “I feel alone.”
We will truly never know what someone
is going through if we do not take the time to really listen. Sometimes the very ones who are going through
things are the ones who encourage others as they go through things. But who encourages the encourager?
People that commit suicide do not want
to die. They only want the pain to
end. The pain of feeling alone, of
feeling abandoned, misunderstood, the pain of feeling invisible, to end. The pain in their hearts when moments in life
simply become unbearable for whatever reason.
illness is not just the person walking around talking to themselves, like some of
us might believe. They are not “crazy”
people. People who deal with mental
illness or some sort of depression experience thoughts that we, especially those
who are “strong” fail to understand. But
mental health is just as important as physical health. If you see someone hurting in their body, you
would help them. And while mental
illness is often hidden, we may not see it in ways we expect, it may still very
well be visible. To those that can
hear. I believe mental illness comes out
in a language. People speaking, I am not
good enough. No one loves me. Nothing ever seems to work out. She’s better than me. Or why can’t I be beautiful or lose this
weight? Even as miniscule as that. It’s a
constant battle in their minds. A
constant battle of thoughts that their life does not matter. In some way or another. We just don’t know what people are
mentioned this before and many might be aware, that since losing my son,
Joseph, in my walk in this shadow of grief, I have come across quite a few
mothers who have thoughts of suicide, who have actually attempted (and succeeded),
because the pain of losing a child is a far greater weight than one can
imagine. I am certainly praying for
Regina King, and April Simpkins (Cheslie Kryst’s mom) for this unbearable pain,
that I know all too well. Many times,
medication is a MUST to escape the pain and the thoughts that come alongside
grief of this nature. But I also know
that if it were not for my ability to express my pain and my grief, most times,
I would be overcome. And I thank God for those who have listened and gave me
the audience I needed.
Reason Why” is a blog I wrote a while back, partly based on the Netflix series,
“Thirteen Reasons Why.” Feel free to read
it, but my purpose for writing it was to bring awareness to suicide and as to why
people commit to do so. In the show the
people found out why. And came face to
face with some bad things, having to live with the regret that they could have
done something differently. We all have
a role to play in the life of someone else, whether we believe that or
not. You ARE your sister’s keeper. Your brother’s keeper. Be kind.
Smile when you can. Lend an ear. Be present.
Open your eyes. Pain is visible
if we are open to see it. It has a
face. It has a story. Yes, we have our own issues to deal with, so
we certainly don’t want any more. But realize,
that may very well mean life or death.
don’t ignore the signs. Don’t ignore the
cries of people who cross your path. Friend
or Foe. Both of these young people had
their whole lives set before them. Lives
that appeared to be full of hope.
Something went badly wrong.
Mental illness is real. Mental health
is vital. Do your part in whatever way
you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues and thoughts of
suicide, or if you simply need someone to talk to, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, 24 hours a day.
the Shadow of Grief,