In order to help people decide whether or not they want to buy my book, I thought I would post my “Introduction” that I wrote that is in my book that helps explain the purpose of my book, what it is, and what it is not. It’s readily available in the preview section of my sale page where you can click on the book and get a little preview of the first few pages. But I wanted to provide it here.
I have had people email me and message me telling me that it made them cry at the beginning, but they found that it helped them so much. As I said before in some of my posts, I don’t want to make the grieving feel worse than they do, but it does help you know that you are not alone in the way you feel.
I have gotten a lot of good feedback about my book so far and I’m happy about that and glad that people think it’s helpful. But for those that don’t think they can stand the sadness within it, please read this and it will help you decide.
This is not a post about me feeling bad because it may make someone cry. I’ve read many books since Kaitlyn died that made me cry but I still found them very helpful. I have received some very nice messages about my book and they said yes, it was sad but it helped them very much. But I do want to offer my introduction here.
Just know, it’s my desire to help people, and to help parents and young people know that there is hidden depression out there. Also if someone is contemplating suicide, if they read this, they will know what it does to people left behind.
Before you begin reading this book, I want the reader to know that this is not a book about how to recover from the loss of a loved one to suicide. I am too new into this horrible journey to give any advice on how to recover, since I am still trying to discover that for myself. Perhaps in reading about my experiences, however, you may be able to relate and at least feel that you are not alone if you have suffered a similar loss.
This book is a warning; a warning to parents, teachers, counselors, social workers and to the many, many children, adolescents and young adults out there who suffer from depression and cannot bring themselves to tell anyone, so they suffer in silence; in deadly silence. These sufferers may appear totally in control of their lives and seem to adjust to every situation, so much so that even those closest to them have no clue as to how they are really feeling. The crucial message this book sends out is that the signs of serious depression are not always obvious.
This book is also a tribute to my daughter Kaitlyn, the memories of her, and the lives she touched in her short life.
This book chronicles my excruciatingly painful grieving journey; I have held nothing back. I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child; I don’t think there is anything worse and it’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Many people who have taken their own lives have shown signs of depression. Perhaps they had sought mental health help, perhaps not. There is much material written about suicides of people who have been diagnosed with depression and, while this is a good thing, much more needs to be written about mental illness and suicide to pull it out of the shadows and into everyday awareness. However, there are those out there who never show signs of depression; high achievers who are the epitome of a life that is directed toward great success. All their lives they have been known as intelligent, sometimes brilliant, goal oriented, creative, driven and loving people. My daughter Kaitlyn, was one such person.
I want to tell the story of my wonderful daughter in the hope that it might help others. Since her death, I have learned so many things I did not know previously, even though I am a registered nurse. I had no clue that someone could be severely depressed, even suicidal, yet completely conceal it while continuing to lead a successful life. I am familiar with the signs of depression, so I assumed that someone suffering from severe depression would exhibit some – if not all – of these signs. Nothing I learned in nursing school, during my career, or in life taught me that someone could hide severe depression from everyone until the moment they end their life.
I want this book to teach others that the signs aren’t always obvious; that the sinister side of depression is that it can remove someone from this life without any prior warning whatsoever. And when this happens, the families left behind are trapped in a sea of disbelief, confusion, overpowering grief and countless unanswered questions.
It is important to stress that in no way am I suggesting that high-achievers who suffer from depression are any more important than sufferers who come from any other type of background; they are not. All are equally important. Sadly, depression (whether obvious or not) can affect anyone, irrespective of socio-economic status. However, my wish is to write about a group who are rarely mentioned in any reading material I have come across. I have read a few articles, but hidden depression is not well documented.
I write a great deal about Kaitlyn’s achievements and how intelligent she was, but I do this to give you a picture of what my daughter was like; I cannot gloss over the facts. My daughter was so much more than her achievements, but they were very much a part of her because she thrived on academic and creative success. I loved her for the person she was inside; a very caring, sweet, loving, unique and totally wonderful human being. She was my kindred spirit whom I loved more than life itself. I would have given my life a hundred times over if only I could have saved her, if only I had known that she was suffering. I know she was not perfect, no one is, but to me, and many others who knew her, she was amazing.
Kaitlyn was not my only child. She has an older sister, Stephanie, who is also a wonderful, intelligent and caring young woman whom I love every bit as much as I love Kaitlyn. Stephanie has contributed her own thoughts and feelings in this book. I don’t delve into Stephanie’s life in detail, nor do I reveal much about the lives of other family members, including my husband Allyn. It’s not that I don’t love them as much, but because I want to leave their private lives as private as possible. I open up Kaitlyn’s life and my life for the sake of telling a story that needs to be told in order, hopefully, to make a difference in the lives of others. I don’t have that right to do that to anyone else.
I hope this book in some way helps drive away the stigma of mental illness. I hope it educates other parents to realize that their highly intelligent “golden child” could be hiding a deep dark secret that could ultimately kill them. No one ever told me; I wish someone had. I hope this book also makes other young people out there know that it is ok to seek help and is nothing to be ashamed of.
I also want to make it clear that not all intelligent, creative, and successful people are depressed or suicidal. However, I have found that high-functioning people sometimes have the ability to hide depression most expertly. No one expects them to be depressed and, as a result, they are less likely to seek help.
Kaitlyn was the last person on this earth that I, or anyone that knew her, would think would take her life. As a result, I am driven to do as much as I can to call attention to this insidious problem that is taking away so many of our wonderful youth. I know Kaitlyn would want this; I feel her spirit moving within me to do this. I hope this book is taken in the way that I intend, to help and to reach as many people as possible.
For Kaitlyn, who for reasons unknown could not cry out for help, I cry out for her with the aim of helping others who suffer as she did. Alone and silent in her despair.”
You know how you lost her:
letter by letter.
The poem of her unlaced;
like a chain of dandelions you whispered to,
blew away their tiny parachutes. Early,
too early. Not even in time to meet the honey bees.
And some of them flew, found a spring.
Walk through the meadow, dear;
wonder which were yours.
Hi Rhonda, I have become a bit overwhelmed and busy with various problems lately so I may not keep up with yours and others’ blogs for awhile – hope you understand that I am always thinking of you and love what you have accomplished in your book. Love Julie
I understand Julie. Come back when you can.
I am very much looking forward to reading your book! I remember reading in another post that Kaitlyn had told her boyfriend at the time she had been depressed, have you been able to get any sort of validation from him? Personally, I don’t think my classmates or friends realize my depression but I have told my mom and she is now able to pick up on it. Do you think her boyfriend was able to see that she was depressed or he just knew because she told him? It’s so hard to fathom someone making this decision without forewarning anyone, I am truly sorry for your loss.
Hi Hannah. Kaitlyn had been in a relationship with this man only 4 months before she died. She told me she loved him, he said he loved her. I have communicated with him in depth after she died (not so much anymore) and he told me that she told him from the beginning that she was depressed and had felt suicidal before but was not suicidal anymore. She also told him we knew of her depression, but we did not. She was not subject to lying to us, but I think she told him we knew so he would not tell us. If he knew we didn’t know she probably feared he would tell us and she apparently did not want that.
Wow it’s unbelievable to think that she could go through life for so long, depressed and not tell you. Did she mention stress as any reason? It’s hard to think someone with so many accomplishments could be unsatisfied. Do you think she was striving for perfection too much, and tired of trying to be the best?
Hannah, she never mentioned she was stressed…..ever….or depressed. Only in her suicide note did she let us know she had been depressed. She said she was sad all the time. I have so many theories in my book but what it comes down to is I don’t know the answers for sure. I can only guess.