Understanding Severe Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

Earlier this year, people worldwide were astonished to hear the news of Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst, who lost her life to suicide. Kryst was an accomplished attorney, supermodel, and correspondent on the celebrity talk show Extra. The year that she won the title of Miss USA, she and three other women became the first group of Black women in pageant history to hold all four major titles in a single year.

From the outside, she had it all. Unfortunately, the challenges she faced in her private life led her to decide to end her life.

Depression is Complicated

People often think of depression as a single, uniform condition. But depression is complicated, and it’s difficult to define what it means objectively.

This is because depression is a condition of the mind: it is diagnosed based on people’s psychological symptoms and behavior, not from a brain scan or markers in their blood or DNA.

However, one thing we do know is that depression is a serious medical condition. It can make it hard or impossible for you to feel happy, remember good times, or see solutions to your problems.

Not everyone displays their suicidal thoughts the same

Depending on each unique situation, people tend to express their feelings of depression differently. Some people are more expressive with their emotions; they will be vocal about their intentions and feelings. Others retract when feeling hopeless or suicidal and become more introverted; they may even hide their intentions from others.

Different cultures and religious groups can also affect a person’s ability to communicate their feelings.

Signs to look for

Findyourwords.org reports the following as the most common warning signs of suicidal behavior.’

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless
  • Speaking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Suggesting that they are being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated, or behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Having extreme mood swings
  • Displaying sudden feelings of calm or being overly happy

Depression can affect anyone

If you are silently struggling with depression, know that it is not your fault. You do not have to suffer alone. Speaking to someone you trust or a qualified professional who can be a listening ear is the first step.

If you feel that this resolution will not work for you, do not hesitate to reach out to anonymous resources such as the National Suicide Hotline number, where you can speak to a professional, anytime, anywhere, for however long you need to.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

How we can help

If you suspect that someone you know is struggling with depression, make sure to educate yourself on the signs. While helping someone through a time of depression, suicidal thoughts, or anxiety can be difficult, it is possible. It is important to let them know that you care about them and that they are not alone.

Show care and empathy. Be non-judgmental and be careful not to criticize or blame them. When appropriate, share resources they can use to get back on track. Resources can include doctors, counselors, or organizations that can offer support and guidance.

While it can be difficult to feel like you are not getting through to the person, remember that they are going through a very challenging time. Even if you don’t fully understand their pain, letting them know that you are there for them can make a huge difference.


Rethink.org- https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/carers-hub/suicidal-thoughts-how-to-support-someone/

Suicide Prevention Hotline – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself

Findyourwords.org- https://findyourwords.org/depression-help/suicidal-thoughts/