… both young brilliant athletes – leaders on notable college teams – and both suicides. Meyer died last month, Bernett just the other day. Also last month, a young runner at the University of Wisconsin – Sarah Shulze – killed herself.
Shulze’s parents wrote that her effort to balance “athletics, academics and the demands of every day life … overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment.” And impulsivity is indeed the mark of most youthful suicides; the same incredible energy that propelled many of these people to academic as well as athletic heights turns against the person herself when she – who knows? – suddenly and catastrophically falls short of her self-demands. Or is it that a hyper-intense life is vulnerable to collapse when for whatever reason the intensity flags, the adrenaline drops?
When I say who knows, I really mean who knows. We can mark these recurrences, common characteristics, etc. But the act itself remains shockingly obscure.