When I was a senior in high school, I was involved in each of that year’s shows (fall play, spring musical, spring play). High school was kind of a lonely time for me, so by the last year I found a lot of solace in drama club. One of the most active members of drama was a guy named Matt Ryd, who was always a fun — and funny — guy. Really good guy.
After we all graduated (he was a year younger than me), I discovered that he was also a musician. He actively promoted his music, but because we weren’t close I never attended any performances. To my surprise, sometime last year (I believe), he came out with a video explaining that he had for a long time been struggling with an eating disorder. He checked himself into rehab of some sort to get better, and excused himself from social media, leaving us with the video to help spread awareness of what he had been living. Once he returned to society, I honestly thought things were going well for him.
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you all that I just found out he took his own life this past Sunday. Although I couldn’t have known, it makes me feel (hindsight being 20/20 or not) like I was partially responsible. Not because I was ever mean or nasty to him, but because I hadn’t gone out of my way to ask him how things were. I assumed they were fine. Plus, he always had no shortage of praise, recognition, or comaraderie, but quite obviously, he was still a tortured enough soul who desperately sought peace. Of course, I and anyone else who knew him wishes there were something we could have done to prevent what happened.
Ladies and gents, let’s walk away from this reminded that we must (not merely “should”) go out of our way to connect with people and remind them of how much love and support they have behind them. This applies to friends, family, significant others, children, the people who are estranged from us (probably most of all). Think about how bad it makes you feel when someone asks you how you are out of formality and not because they actually care.
I’m committing myself to looking at people in the eye when we speak, even if it is only a momentary exchange, and being the best friend/sister/daughter /writer/personal accessories stylist/me I can be. I call this divine interruption — the events that happen outside of our control that shake us up and give us a reality check.
Please keep Matt (and anyone who is suffering in silence) in your thoughts and prayers. What does his story inspire you to do differently? Share your ideas and revelations in the comments below.
Read Matt’s obituary here.