18 days into 2022 and there were already over 50,000 suicides this year, every day is a battle but it's one that was meant for you. One you would not be given if you were not meant to handle.
As you can see, I started writing this months ago, but I kept fearing, would I write the right thing, or would say the right thing? But then I remembered it's not about being picture-perfect when writing, or living. It's about being authentic. And if I could touch just one life with sharing my thoughts on suicide, that would be worth it.
There can be pain hiding behind what you think is a picture-perfect life.
A wonderful woman I knew, Cheslie Kryst died by suicide January 30th 2022. I didn't even feel like I had the right to be as devastated as I was because I wasn't as close to her as some people, obviously it is way harder on her family. But for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about it, I wish I could have said something, I wish I could have pulled her back from the edge that day and stopped it. Someone so vivacious, full of life, faith, and a promising future...why, couldn't someone have stopped it. I spent time speaking with someone who tried to take her own life, and she walked and talked through my emotions to help me better understand all of the feelings I was experiencing. I was so confused, devastated, sad, guilty feeling, helpless...not understanding the 'why' of it all in someone who seemingly had so much going for her.
I sat on these thoughts and feelings for so long and realized part of the heart-wrenching feeling I felt was because I saw so much of myself in her...portraying a 'picture-perfect' life, accomplished, achieving, performing, and always keeping it all together. This world boasts on the accomplishments of individuals, especially when achieved so young. What isn't realized is that when you do achieve such great feats at such a young age, the pressure can be insurmountable.
"I remember being enamored by “20 under 20” and “30 under 30” lists that tied achievement to youth and called it success — lists that are surely intended to recognize the rarity of accomplishing outstanding feats at a young age. But they had an unfortunate side effect on some young people, who felt encouraged to hoard accomplishments as fast as possible in order to measure up to our peers." - Cheslie Kryst
The pressure to continue to perform, you can never have an off day, you can never 'stop' achieving, at least that is how it feels. Everyone looks at you as strong, and having it all together, what isn't seen behind that pretty smile, is the pain that also comes with the success. The hard days, the bad news, the disappointments, the family argument, the bad diagnosis, the hurt, the let-downs, the things that happen in life to everyone, but "can't happen to someone so 'picture-perfect' or successful." It can begin to feel isolating. If you don't have someone who can listen, judgment-free, seeing you as a human, not a machine...it becomes way too much to bear sometimes. From personal belief, I cannot imagine going through the hardships, pressures, and pains of life without God. Someone who is always there for you, always listening, sees you for who you are and believes in you. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, I hope you know God always cares, he is always waiting to hear from you and he has your answers and he can give you peace.
Not only do these pressures come internally, but society. Especially for women! Society is not kind. Our standards in this world are not attainable. As a woman, you are expected to age gracefully, yet only those with a lot of money can maintain 'youthful looks' with expensive skin care and medical enhancements. Our culture poses those in their mid 20's - mid 30's the epitome of health, wealth, and relevance. When will we start to embrace age, wisdom and growing old. So often the pressures to be in a dream career, be married, do all the societal norms by the time we are thirty is overwhelming and frankly not in the cards for everyone. As a woman, you are supposed to take care of your children and be a homemaker but also valued more if you have a career. HOW!? How can you do it all perfectly? At the sake of your own being.
"After a year like 2020, you would think we’d learned that growing old is a treasure and maturity is a gift not everyone gets to enjoy. Far too many of us allow ourselves to be measured by a standard that some sternly refuse to challenge and others simply acquiesce to because fitting in and going with the flow is easier than rowing against the current. I fought this fight before and it’s the battle I’m currently fighting with 30." - Cheslie Kryst
There are so many things to dissect when it comes to this topic. If you want to know small ways to make a difference in people's lives, check on your strong friends, because believe it or not, they may be internally struggling WAY more than you could ever know.
Remember to be kind, and be a light for those around you...I have said it a million times, and I will continue to preach it, but you never know what someone else may be going through behind closed doors, therefore show grace when you have the chance.
When you think of strong, and accomplished friends in your life, know they need gentleness and understanding too. They may even need a break, a place where they know it is okay to say 'I need help,' I am struggling. Be that place of understanding for them. Maybe then we can create a society who is softer, more forgiving and less success driven.
We have bigger houses but smaller families; more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicines but less healthiness.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble in crossing the street to meet our new neighbor.
We built more computers to hold more copies than ever, but have less real communication; We have become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods but slow digestion; Tall men but short characters; Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window but nothing in the room.
If you ever deal with these thoughts day in or day out, I'm beyond proud of you. I and so many others are so glad you're still here. Stay strong, don't stop showing up, and know that you are cared for.
Suicide line - (800) - 273 - 8255
My Public Post from January 31st, 2022.
It’s been extremely hard to try to make sense or comprehend the heart wrenching news we all heard yesterday.
All I know is that Cheslie’s light will continue to shine on. She had such a vivacious and bold personality, someone I certainly looked up to and was so blessed to know.
This article (https://www.allure.com/story/cheslie-kryst-miss-usa-on-turning-30/amp?fbclid=IwAR1k9s3f3PQpJgi72aTIfUB58AQjHrArQNrh1bcsilePXsgx2-Aiw3GWxH0) of her reflection is such a harsh reality of the pressure society places especially on females to be even more beautiful than they were 10 years ago, to constantly succeed to place noted successions on lists like 30 under 30..when you are an achiever in life it becomes hard to know where the line of pressure is too much.
My heart and so many prayers go out to her family during this time, I hope, somehow they find peace.
My pageant sister, I will always hold my wonderful memories of you close in my heart.
Check in on your strong friends, because this world can be heavy and some are better at masking their problems than others. You may never truly know what someone is facing, so be kind always and be attentive to those around you. Text or call your loved ones and make sure they know everything you’ve ever wanted to tell them, because this life is short and unexpected at times.
You are not alone. I wish I could put into words the love God has for each and every one of you. You were made with purpose.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
NAMI HelpLine 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255
Crisis Text Line Text NAMI to 741741