I’ve been reading a lot of blogs & articles about Trey Pennington today. If you’re not familiar with who Trey was, he was one of the leaders in the social space, and a very talented marketer, author, and speaker. Unlike a lot of the authors publishing posts about him — I did not know Trey.
I saw him come up in many a twitter timeline and in passing conversation with colleagues, but I had never met him. There is something that deeply disturbs me when I think about the death of this man. You see, much like myself, Trey was a pretty positive guy from an outside perspective — all that to say, you wouldn’t think he had a reason to be depressed or thinking of suicide. I mean, he had six children – that is a reason to live in and of itself.
The story is, Pennington killed himself in a church parking lot on Sunday. I read a post that described his suicide as
“Sitting with a gun in his hand in front of his church 4,000 miles away in Greenville, South Carolina.” – Denis G Campbell
Then of course, there was his last tweet:
Sure am thankful for online friends who are real friends, offlline, too.
All of this sends shivers down my spine.
You see, I (as well as many people like me) come across exactly like Trey Pennington when you read our social profiles & updates. Happy, caring, stress-free, successful. The thing is – Trey was not these things, he had a broken heart, and he decided to take his life because of it. In social media, we have a tendency to hide our true feelings and post breaking news instead. Our “image” comes before our life – and people who may have been able to change life’s cruel path never got a chance to because Trey chose to protect his image.
Depression is a very scary disease that a LOT of people suffer from – and it is very scary. Social media should not be a mask to this. Reading Intuitive Bridge‘s post about Trey really opened my eyes to how scary & real it can be, but also how it only takes one person to get you to step down off the ledge.
I admit, I suffer from the same tendencies — hiding when I’m sad or upset in favor of professional image. I don’t want people to see my vulnerability, to know that I have problems, too – but Trey’s story has really humbled me in that respect. I do not suffer from clinical depression, but I know that my friends (both online & offline) would be the first people I would ask for help if it one day decides to rear its ugly head in my life — and I want any of my readers or followers to feel that they can approach me if they need help also.
R.I.P. Trey Pennington, my condolences go out to both your online & offline friends & family – and I hope that in some way I can live up to your professional success one day.