What Went Wrong With Waukee Grad Who Killed Son, Self? (OPINION)
What Kelli Sly did to her young son and herself is incomprehensible -- until you understand that depression is more than just a bout of sadness.
You probably didn't know Kelli Sly, but in the last couple days, you've probably heard a lot about her.
The 23-year-old Waukee High School graduate made headlines over the weekend for allegedly killing her 2 year-old son, Gavin and then taking her own life by crashing her car into a concrete bridge support.
I bet I know what you're thinking, "How could she?"
That's what I thought too when I first heard the news. As a mom of three, stories like Sly's punch me right in the gut. I can't imagine how a mother could be driven to take the life of her own child and then her own.
Or can I?
Honestly, yeah, I can. In fact, if Kelli Sly were alive right now and she had confided in me that she was in a dark place and felt lost and unhappy, I'd tell you, "You know what? I can totally relate."
Sly's mother, Sherri Sinclair, told a reporter in an interview with KCCI that her daughter had battled depression and that things just never seemed to go right for Sly.
“She had tried to get help a number of different times and it just seemed like every time she was on the right track with something there was always another setback,” said Sinclair during an interview with KCCI on Sunday.
Been there. Done that.
Depression is a strange bird. It comes in all shapes and sizes and you just never know when or how it's going to manifest itself.
My own fight with depression never put me in the same place as it must have Sly, but I get where she was.
I describe depression as a pile of stuff sitting on a desk in your head. Your pile starts off small but then, eventually, things get added to it. In Sly's case, she lost a job, was going through a divorce and was struggling with child care. On top of it all, she had a 2-year-old son to care for, which brings more to the mix.
Eventually, that pile becomes too much and you end up underneath it, unable to dig your way out. You feel hopeless, sad and entirely inadequate. You try to talk yourself into digging out but the job seems too large for one person to handle.
That's what I assume happened to Kelli Sly. She ended up in a place she couldn't dig her way out of, so she decided it was time to just scrap the whole thing. Sadly, she took with her the only thing I can assume she felt she had any kind of control over - her son.
I'm by no means suggesting that what Sly did is right nor was it justified. I'm saying that depression puts seemingly normal people in a place that's hard to explain unless you've been there.
I just hope that she's in a better place now.