For Kyle–Who Went Missing Today

Last week Kyle Whitney went missing.  He of the blue eyes and wry smile was gone. Depressed, suicidal.

When the news ran through the hills that he had been found, we joyed and high fived.

But still we worried.

And today,

Today, he went missing again.

He went missing from the pain and from the pleasure.

From the valleys and from the peaks.

In a motel

In a city by the Bay

Far from the mountains of Montana and the hills of Humboldt

He chose to go missing

MIA from life

For Kyle, may he find peace.

May his family and friends find peace, too.



  • Sadness. RIP Kyle.

  • K at the bookstore

    I am so sorry, Kym. May his family find comfort and may he dance in the stars. One of my friends who took an early exit some decades ago after having been brought back from death at our local hospital said when he was dead it was infinite dancing and infinite peace, and so many stars. He killed himself a few weeks later. I’ve always hoped those stars and dancing were really there.

  • Kathy, that is beautiful. I hope so, too.

  • Too young. Too young.

    What a stressful world we live in. RIP

  • Very sad and too young.

  • …”any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind”…
    John Donne

    Where did we go wrong?

  • The reporting of suicides is too often shunned by news media. Suicides should be reported, and in each case, mention should be made if professional help was not sought. I don’t know the circumstances of this man’s situation, but in general, “He had not sought medical treatment” should be as commonplace a statement in suicides as “He was not wearing a seat belt” when reporting on car collision deaths.

    There is a stigma to mental illness that forces people to hide their condition rather than seek help. Would you hide a broken arm from your friends? Why then hide a broken mind? Society failed Kyle.

    When my wife had severe postpartum depression, the first thing I had her do was e-mail everyone she knew. The stigma disappeared. There’s no secret. There’s no whispering or gossip when everyone knows. We lost one supposed friend, but gained the strength of everyone else we knew. Some of our friendships are even stronger as a result.

  • So sad that in easing his sorrow, he has increased the sorrow for those left behind.
    Yet who are we to say his choice was wrong?

  • AJ,

    I appreciate your point about how important it is to de-stigmatize depression issues. So many wonderful people I know suffer from it or have in the past. I don’t know whether Kyle sought help to deal with his pain. I only know that ultimately he was overwhelmed by it.

  • Very poignent post. Thank you Kym.

    So sad for the family and friends. My heart goes out to all of you.

    Most of us know at least one person, perhaps a friend or family member, who suffers from severe depression or other psychically painful mental illnesses, or from devastating personal losses, physical maladies, or other conditions that make their lives miserable.

    We should all take this tragedy as a reminder to call these folks, today, RIGHT NOW, and in the course of the ohone call gently try to feel them out as far as how they are feeling today, how they are doing lately in general, whether there is any way we can help, and to find some way to remind them how much we love and value them. And do this again in a few days, and again…and again. Never give up. You never know when the right combination of words and circumstances might lead this person to open up, seek help, and hopefully get some relief.

    In my case, I have suffered from severe depression in the past, and was resistant for a long time in seeking counseling or medication (didn’t believe it would help, didn’t want to become dependent), despite hints — and sometimes outright pleas — from friends. But one day, an old friend said something that somehow penetrated this wall of denial. What she said was something along the lines of “look, I do admire your desire to soldier through the tough times on your own, and I understand that you don’t want to become a “Prozac Zombie,” but I’m afraid that you’re suffering a lot more than you need to, and I’m worried that one day that suffering will just be too much for you to bear — please, please promise me that you’ll try to get help before that happens, or at least if that day does arrive, that you’ll call me before you do anything drastic.”

    Her concern for my increasing suffering, which was, in a way, more obvious to her than it was to me (frog in the bathtub problem), was deeply moving. Later that same day, I finally made arrangements to begin counseling. It hasn’t been all peaches and cream since then, there have been ups and downs, recovery, relapse, and more recovery, but the general trend ever since that day has been a slow upward arc. I’ve been off of anti-depressant medications for several years now, and no longer require frequent counseling sessions, but since I have now experienced several years with what seems like more normal levels of happiness at least I have something to compare with the previous years of misery — so I believe that the next time around (and with major depression there usually is a next time around) I’ll know ahead of time that I’m getting close to the point where I need some help, and won’t wait until I’m feeling desperate and hopeless.

    Of course, sometimes people can be in such psychic pain, and cannot get any relief from medications or therapy, and in such cases I can certainly understand why they would choose to make an “early exit.” In my view this is absolutely their right to choose, and they should never be blamed or shamed for making an attempt. But for other folks, therapy and/or medication, together with the love and support of their friends and families, may be able to ease their pain and at least make their lives significantly more bearable, and hopefully actually enjoyable.

    It certainly sounds like in this case, friends and family had done all they could possibly do. In no way should they be blamed, in no way should they have to feel guilty about what has happened (though these feelings may be more or less unavoidable).

    Again, my deepest condolences to the friends and family of this young man.

  • I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes moved more than you will know by your opening up. You are absolutely right–we all know someone who is suffering from depression or mental illness and we do need to reach out.

    But just as you pointed out –there are also people that no matter how much family and friends have tried, they are still in terrible pain. I believe in struggling to reach these people as much as we can and I also believe in letting go of guilt and pain if we don’t manage to reach them–I believe that is the way to self sanity–I’m not sure I can practice it though.

    Thank you for giving of your own pain to help others through theirs.

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