Depression in Plain Site: A Comment about Tyler Hilinski
This morning, before I really dig in for the weekend on reading, researching and writing, I wanted to say something about the suicide of Tyler Hilinski this week and speak out on behalf of the other young people who suffer from depression in plain sight.
The typical warning signs that everyone is taught to look for are changes in behavior and in particular - poor performance in school or activities. But sadly, as Tyler's death shows - even seemingly successful and high-functioning people can be suffering unbearable pain.
What can happen is that when someone reaches out and tells us they need help but we still see that they have notable achievements, we can be quick to say "But look at you - you have so much to live for. You are bright/popular/athletic/etc." While well-meaning, all that really does is diminish that person's emotions & feelings and leaves them feeling even more isolated.
But the truth is that most people can't see past the success and not understand why the other person isn't happy or, unfortunately, not think they are really *that* depressed - else how could they still have done so much. Depression, to most, is sitting in a dark room unable to do anything, not leading your team to victory.
Accomplishments do not equate to mental happiness or a lack of depression &/or anxiety. The proof is not just in Tyler's death but in the scores of other talented souls we have lost over the years to suicide. Because sometimes working hard to have success and some positivity in their life is them trying to fill the empty bottomless pit in their souls... You tell them they have it all and they are thinking "But it's still not enough..."
So when someone is asking for help, directly or indirectly, get them help and disregard your opinions or your conclusions. It may actually save their life.