Cheslie Kryst was almost always smiley and bubbly. She was a high achiever, naturally curious, and spoke up for others.
You'd never guess that behind closed doors that the attorney and former Miss USA battled depression intensely.
She hid it expertly, her mom April Simpkins said on a recent episode of "Red Table Talk" hosted by Baltimore native Jada Pinkett Smith.
"Depression is not always marked by someone laying in bed, unable to do anything," Simpkins said.
"You know, there are people out there who are high-functioning who can get through the day because they wear the face, and we are all taught to wear that face. Cheslie wore that face."
On Jan. 30, 2022, Kryst leapt to her death for the 29th floor of a New York City building. That wasn't Kryst's first suicide attempt either, her mom told Pinkett Smith.
While Simpkins knew her daughter was suffering, she didn't know the severity until her daughter's first attempt, she said. Simpkins urged Kryst to call and talk any time she needed, she said.
Kryst even spoke openly about speaking to a counselor and the importance of decompressing.
Simpkins went on to reveal the final text message she received from her daughter.
"First I'm sorry, by the time you get this I won't be alive anymore," she said, teary eyed.
"And it makes me even more sad to write this because I know it will hurt you the most. I love you mom, and you are my best friend and the person I 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."
Simpkins said her daughter struggled with high-functioning depression, described by psychologist Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble a word used to better understand people dealing with depression who don't present as such.
People like Kryst, who might have an infectious laugh and a bubbly personality, but behind closed doors deal with a depressive illness.
If you or someone you love is battling depression or suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day: 800-273-8255.
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