People often tell Tyler they’re jealous of his adventures—how he first left Belgrade, Montana at nineteen to tour the country as a professional wrestler (yes, the Hulk Hogan type); how he lived out of a van for months at a time while speaking to thousands of students across the United States as a traveling representative for the social justice organization Invisible Children; how he spent a summer in Israel as an archaeologist via his religious studies background; and his ongoing goal to visit all the U.S. national parks (having been to fifty-three of the fifty-nine).
What people fail to recognize, however, is that these pursuits were always a means of distraction. At fourteen, Tyler first started noticing his clinical depression, an illness leaving him to ruminate on debilitating thoughts of meaninglessness and inadequacy. He turned to travel as a self-harm survival technique, always looking for the next distraction, yet suicidal ideation lingered.
It wasn’t until Tyler started treating his mental illness as a gift that he began to understand the darker recesses of his own creativity. He put pen to page, no longer as a prisoner to the stigma of his affliction, but as a confessional essayist dragging hard emotional truths into the light of recognition. He’s since written a memoir, A Field Guide to Losing Your Friends, and produced a short film of the same name.
Tyler encourages people to protect their hearts and explore their demons. His goal is to create literature that helps with both.