Cheslie Kryst Was Hiding ‘High-Functioning Depression’ — Here’s What That Means
On Monday, Cheslie Kryst’s mom April Simpkins spoke out for the first time since her daughter’s untimely passing.
In a statement to “Extra,” April revealed that Cheslie was “dealing with high-functioning depression,” which she kept hidden to everyone “until very shortly before her death.”
“Extra’s” Billy Bush spoke with American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christine Yu Moutier about high-functioning depression.
Dr. Moutier said, “High-functioning depression means a person can push through a lot of symptoms. It doesn’t mean those symptoms are milder and really hide it from those around them and the world.”
“It’s hard to admit vulnerability,” she pointed out.
Some symptoms of depression may include changes in appetite, insomnia, oversleeping, fatigue, low self-esteem, and hopelessness.
Dr. Moutier also stressed the importance of seeking out a mental health evaluation if you are feeling a “dark cloud.” She explained, “If you’re somebody who’s wondered why is your life feeling the way it is, you’re not sure that it is depression, but you’ve always felt this dark cloud, this weight, or that things are stacked against you, that would be an indication.”
In another interview, Billy noted Cheslie’s history as a mental health advocate, to which Moutier responded, “A person can be very well aware, very educated, getting the best care and support from loved ones, and still have an outcome that that we wish weren't the case.”
Bush brought up how happy Cheslie was on set, and wondered if something like this happens quickly, like a “dark cloud,” or if this had been building over time.
Moutier shared her insight, saying, “Sometimes, suicide risk arises quickly… in a more impulsive way, but more often than not, it is something that a person is aware of. At least in an internal, private way.”
“It can be so confusing from the outside and especially when someone is so bright and larger-than-life in terms of what they present to the world,” Moutier added. “And yet we are complicated human beings… Sometimes, what we see from the outside just doesn't tell the whole story, and human struggle and mental health is real and dynamic for all of us… I know that's so hard to reconcile in this moment of loss.”
Kryst’s death was ruled a suicide. Her mom said, “Today, what our family and friends privately knew was the cause of death of my sweet baby girl, Cheslie, was officially confirmed.”
Along with noting that she is “forever changed,” Simpkins added, “While her life on this earth was short, it was filled with many beautiful memories. We miss her laugh, her words of wisdom, her sense of humor and mostly her hugs. We miss all of it — we miss all of her. She was a vital part of our family which makes this loss even more devastating.”
Simpkins included a message to her daughter, saying, “Cheslie — to the world, you were a ball of sunshine wrapped in smiles. We talked, FaceTimed or texted one another all day, every day. You were more than a daughter — you were my very best friend. Talking with you was one of the best parts of my day. Your smile and laugh were infectious.”
“I love you baby girl with all my heart. I miss you desperately,” she added. “I know one day we’ll be together again. Until then, rest easy and in peace.”
Kryst had interviewed celebrities like Gabrielle Union and Mary J. Blige about their struggles with mental health ahead of her own passing.
If you or anyone else is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.