The beauty queen Cheslie Kryst devastatingly took her own life in January of this year. We were all shocked that a woman so beautiful, accomplished, and loved was struggling with severe depression.
30-year-old Cheslie Kryst was crowned Miss USA 2019. She was an attorney and a TV host with a huge smile and an infectious laugh. Many people who knew her personally were shocked to learn that she was battling high-functioning depression for years before her death. Kryst's mother April Simpkins opened up about her daughter's suicide on "Red Table Talk" with Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris.
Cheslie Kryst's Mother Reveals Her Daughter's Final Text Before Committing Suicide
The public had no idea that Cheslie was wrestling with depression for a long time, and April said that this wasn't her first suicide attempt. There were times in her 20s when April said that her daughter was getting the right help – going to counseling, getting enough sleep, and taking care of her mental health. But none of that was enough for her to overcome her severe depression.
Cheslie is one of six children, and April said she loved her siblings so much she would call her mom and negotiate their punishment whenever they got into trouble. April said she almost always had a smile on her face in public and was incredibly accomplished from a young age. But behind the accolades Cheslie continued to struggle.
"Depression is not always marked by someone laying in bed, or unable to do things," April said. "There are people who are high-functioning who can get through the day because they wear the face. And we all are taught to wear that face. Cheslie wore the face."
One day, April received a long text message from Cheslie. It started with, “First, I’m sorry, by the time you get this, I won’t be alive anymore. And it makes me even more sad to write this because I know it will hurt you the most." She read the text an hour after it was sent. Even though April was terrified, she thought she still had time to reach her daughter. She thought perhaps this suicide attempt would be like the first, so she and her husband got on a plane and planned to head to the hospital.
“I love you mom, and you are my best friend, and the person I’ve lived for for years. I wish I could stay with you, but I cannot bear the crushing weight of persistent sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness any longer,” the text continued.
“I’ve never told you these feelings, because I never wanted you to worry, and because I hoped they would eventually change, but I know they never will. They follow me through every accomplishment, success, family gathering, friendly dinner."
“I cry almost every day now, like I’m in mourning. I've wished for death for years. And I know you would want to know and want to help, but I haven’t wanted to share this weight with anyone."
“Regardless of that, thank you sincerely for being there for me in some of my loneliness moments without me even telling you I needed you."
April described the harrowing moment when they got the call that Cheslie had died – they were on the runway on the plane, about to take off to New York to go see her. She remembers her husband sobbing but doesn't really remember much more.
April details the difficulty of managing her children's pain and grief while handling her own. "David and I didn't know what to do," she continued. "We went outside to get some fresh air. I remember just sobbing on the sidewalk, I just couldn't move my body anymore."
Cheslie's mom hopes that her daughter's story will help people struggling with depression reach out if they're in need. She hopes that opening up about her devastating experience will "encourage people to be kinder."
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.