illustration by Diane Belgrod
The news this past week has really hit me hard partly because we found out that two people with seemingly wonderful lives took their own life. It hit me even harder because these two prominent figures also left behind children at a fragile age. I and even family members have suffered mental illness at some point of our lives and I’m so lucky that we have had means to cope with those struggles. It’s tragic that these people did not have that or chose not to reach out for help.
From the outside looking in both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, they seemed like they had it all—fame, fortune, and success with the height of their careers. The thing is, what we see in the media and on social media may not be what is going on behind closed doors. All the money and success in the world doesn’t mean anything if you’re suffering from mental illness.
I’ve been there myself, in a dark, lonely place,where I thought and cowardly tried to end it all without anyone knowing or maybe seeing any signs. I was so fortunate to have asked for help and had people to talk to. I’m not ashamed to say I went to a therapist and it actually helped me. It’s been years since then and sure I’ve had tough days. Even had my husband thought I may have had postpartum depression after having the baby, but I knew the difference and the doctor said it was normal new mom stuff I was going through.
No matter how bad it gets, I know I can always talk to someone. I also know that it would hurt too many people in my life. I couldn’t leave my son behind without a mom. I lost my mother at a young age and I can’t imagine putting my child through that. While she admitted to having suicidal thoughts, she wrote in her journal that it was me that kept her going. I would have lived with so much anger if she left me by choice.
Mental illness is a real disease and if you are suffering, please talk to someone and seek help. If you’re not suffering, please reach out to someone you think could be. We need to openly talk about this topic more so we don’t lose another person to this disease.
I hope my story can help you or someone you love. Please share it so maybe it will.
If you don’t have someone to talk to, you can chat with someone here or call 1800-273-8255 and there will be someone there who will listen.