I don’t really know how to start this blog. But, I am compelled to write after reading the news about Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, just a few minutes ago. Kate Spade gone to young a few days ago, and now Anthony this morning?! It is time we start to talk about the demons inside us. Now, where to begin?
My first ‘big girl’ purse, that I bought for myself, was a Kate Spade. It was white with huge black polka dots and I LOVED it. I remember how FUN & fabulous I felt carrying that bag. “Start Every Day Like It’s Your Birthday!”….was one of her quotes and I felt like it WAS my birthday when I used that bag! I stopped by a friend’s house once and I left it on the front seat of my car. I was away for 15 minutes and I came out to a brick through my driver side glass and my purse stolen! My heart was as shattered as the glass. My polka dot LOVE was GONE! I looked around and didn’t see it anywhere. I was heartbroken. The police were called and they came and took a report, of course. One of the officers did a ‘sweep’ of nearby dumpsters and alleyways….and low and behold–THEY FOUND IT! My polka dot LOVE had been dumped in an ally, like yesterdays trash. The contents rifled through, money and cards taken…. poor Kate was just thrown to the wayside. The ‘perp’ didn’t know that Kate Spade itself had value. Thank goodness! They didnt know that ‘Kate’ was THE true valued item.
The recent suicide of Kate Spade, and Anthony this morning, got me really thinking. How many times have we overlooked a ‘Kate’ in our lives? How many times has a ‘Kate’ felt undervalued/alone? How many times has a ‘Kate’ felt thrown away in an ally? Or felt like yesterdays trash? It is FAR past time that we STOP with the stigma about mental health, depression, anxiety, etc….becasue it is literally killing us.
CNN wrote this about Anthony; “Through his TV shows and books, he explored the human condition and helped audiences think differently about food, travel and themselves.”. I know nothing of his personal life, but I know that when I watched his shows, he had the story telling ability to transport you, INTO the TV. The ability to make you feel like you were right there next to him, experiencing what he was, tasting what he was, smelling the food, seeing the sights. It really was like you were on a dinner date with the man. He would ask simple questions to the people he interviewed…”What makes you happy?” In hindsight, this question saddens me. All the while he was battling his own demons. Why could he not ask himself that question? Why could Kate Spade not ask herself? SO MANY QUESTIONS! What is the answer?
There is no right answer and I am NOT a therapist or an expert. But what I do know, is here is a growing epidemic of 1-mental health issues, 2-opioid addition 3-chronic homelessness. And the three are intertwined more than we care to admit. If we, as a society, don’t take of our rose-colored glasses and start taking a hard look at it; these will just get worse. And by ‘society’, I mean, you-the reader, elected officials, non-profits…it takes a village. #truth #dontJustTrustmeGoogleIt #Facts
It should be noted that some people who die by suicide do not show any suicide warning signs. But about 75 percent of those who die by suicide do exhibit some suicide warning signs, so we all need to be aware of what the suicide warning signs are and try to spot them in people. If we do see someone exhibiting suicide warning signs, we need to do everything that we can to help them. Here are some signs;
- Talking or writing about death or suicide
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Feeling strong anger or rage
- Feeling trapped — like there is no way out of a situation
- Dramatic mood changes or acting impulsively
- Abusing drugs or alcohol
- Losing interest in most activities
- Change in sleeping habits
- Performing poorly at work or in school
- Giving away prized possessions
- Feeling excessive guilt or shame
- Writing a will
The families and friends left behind have to ask themselves questions every day. What could I have done? What ‘sign’ did I miss? You might replay “what if” and “if only” scenarios in your mind, blaming yourself for your loved one’s death. Grieve in your own way. Do what’s right for you, not necessarily someone else. There is no single “right” way to grieve. If you find it too painful to visit your loved one’s gravesite or share the details of your loved one’s death, wait until you’re ready. Don’t rush yourself. Losing someone to suicide is a tremendous blow, and healing must occur at its own pace. Don’t be hurried by anyone else’s expectations that it’s been “long enough.” #YouDoYou #LoveYouChels
Suicide is a growing problem in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a survey Thursday showing suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds. If you of someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
I usually have a witty closing, but not this time. From the posts on social media, I think we can all agree that we have all been touched by suicide, in one way or the other.
Let’s listen more to Plato…”Be Kind; For Everyone You Meet is Fighing a Hard Battle”.