Even prior to the stress of 2020 and 2021’s new normal, we have seen a growing number of suicides. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/) the rate per 100,000 individuals has risen from about 12 in 2010 to 14 in 2018 with a slight dip in 2019 and 2020. So many go unnoticed, unannounced outside small family and friend circles. In the case of Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst, our nation is slapped in the face by the suicide of one who seemed to have it all. She was Miss USA. She was on the cover of magazine. She traveled and shined. Why did she take her life?
In each individual, the reasons vary. Her story tells of high stress to perform, repeated criticism, and the final decision to take her life to avoid the pain of living it. In others, it may be family stressors such as divorce or loss of a loved one. In still others, it may be the hopelessness of chronic health issues such as chronic pain or a terminal illness. In yet others, it may be underlying health issues that directly affect one’s brain and lead to depression which ends in suicide. In some, a combination of each of these pushes the sufferer over the edge.
In our office, we see many of these individuals as they walk through lives of chronic illness. Some are depressed by the effects of their illness. Some have illnesses which disrupt their brains to the point of directly causing emotional storms. Our work is to care for the whole person before us regardless of the primary cause. This means listening to their stories, acknowledging their pain and walking along side them to free them from their illness and its effects on their souls.
While I have no knowledge of Miss USA’s health besides the public appearance of a high level of fitness, I can speak to my patient’s health. Their illnesses have sometimes lasted for years or even decades struggling with pain, with inability to function like their friends, with disabilities and limitations stealing their joy. Their perseverance to continue searching for answers, hope, and restoration attests to their fortitude. They are not giving up, but they are weary. We work to both relieve the present symptoms that add to their weariness and to overcome the root of their illness in order to provide lasting freedom.
While we do this, we work to speak hope into their lives. Just because other doctors gave up or blamed them for their illness, we know that most have more that can be done to set them free. We often find toxins, infections, nutritional issues, inflammation, and more that stands in the way of emotional well-being. Addressing these previously undiscovered health issues can bring light into their wounded hearts. In the beginning, we thus tell them to not give up on themselves just because some doctor gave up on them.
We also know that God has put us here at Sanctuary to be the hands and feet of the One who is the great Physician. We pray with our patients and for them, and we point them to the One who provides the ultimate healing. Sometimes, we remind them of God’s care. Sometimes, we remind them of God’s power. Sometimes… we just tell them that we care and are not giving up. Sometimes… we just listen.
I pray for Miss USA’s family and friends for their loss. It is too late to help Ms. Kryst. I then pray that whoever reads this will stop and consider both their own lives and the lives of others around them. If your heart is heavy and doctors have given up, keep looking for answers. If you know someone struggling with chronic health issues, consider the heavy burden on their emotions. Then do something before it is too late. Listen to them. Acknowledge their pain and suffering. Ask what you can do. Be a friend. Encourage them to not give up. Don’t distance yourself from them. Don’t blame them. In other words, love someone through their suffering and maybe help them avoid Miss USA’s recent fate. God willing, we can help others overcome.
Mental health experts react to tragic death of former Miss USA. WKRN.com by Erica Francis. Posted: Jan 31, 2022 / 05:33 PM CST. Updated: Jan 31, 2022 / 10:24 PM CST. Accessed 2/2/22
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.