I wanted to do a blog on suicide, celebrities, and society since the recent passing of Kate Spade and the awareness it has brought. It is always a tragic experience when a life is taken due to mental illness because the pain and suffering that they are going through are too much that it results in a loss of a life. Kate Spade is just the latest on a growing list of celebrities that have taken their life and it seems to become more common which is a trend that everyone can agree has to stop. I know from personal experience the pain and hurt along with questions left behind by suicide and it has a ripple effect that no one could imagine and can destroy families and friends. I wanted to share my experiences and take on what it is happening in society today with mental illness and the awareness that has to be made.
Mental illness does not discriminate who it affects and most of the time it is those who seem the strongest or have the most going for them but I feel this is not the case. Look at all the celebrities that have take their lives and the success they seemed to have and the pain left behind to friends and family. Mental illness can affect everyone and anyone at any given time, there is proof that certain forms of mental illness can be hereditary such as Bipolar disorder but it does not mean that everyone who has no family history of it is in the clear. Mental illness can happen in the form of PTSD, trauma, mental abuse and more. A lot of the individuals I have met had childhood experiences and even adult experiences that affected them in such a way that it changed their lives forever. Mental illness like most diseases you cannot see, it's similar to cancer or addiction in the way that you can't see it but it is there and it can grow inside us. There is no special pill or treatment that can cure this in one dose unfortunately but there are many tools and support out there for those who suffer please feel free to click here to find out more on mental illness treatment.
The greatest example of this is now with Kate Spade and her untimely passing due to this horrible disease and I can it a disease because it is one. On the outside, she was the definition of success when it comes to lifestyle, business, and family. Let's examine the business side, she had a net worth of $200 million dollars so if you think money can bring happiness I to disagree money cannot fix everything and I think many would agree. Depression and anxiety can stem from a lack of money but that is in a different way but can also affect people in a very negative light. She was a world renowned businesswoman with extreme success founding her business in 1993 through fashion design which was a huge success in the handbag market. I am a guy and I even knew about Kate Spade purses and her fashion had an impact on many celebrities and the average person because of the bright colors and style which in my opinion was a very happy product. With success and money, one would think this person has it all but do they really? Time and time again we are shown that these outside effects do not help with someone's mental health, talking is almost more powerful than any of this and getting the emotions out. With the strength they exhibit most would not realize that they are actually suffering silently like so many in society. The stigma around suicide needs to end but that is only done when there is awareness and those that want to help speak up. Make everyone aware that you care and create an environment around you that is welcoming and non-judgemental because those hurting can shut down very easily.
Now, let us look at family, in the life of Kate Spade, it seems that she had a normal childhood so how could she suffer from mental illness. There was nothing ever said of abuse either physically or mentally along with no traumatic experience that can cause depression and PTSD. She was born in 1969 and graduated from an all-girls Catholic school where she then went on to study journalism graduating at the University of Arizona. She was an intelligent and driven individual so you would almost think that someone like that couldn't possibly have any type of mental illness and how wrong we can be. So you have an educated and successful businesswoman that seems would be the perfect person with no problem in the world and as we have seen time and time again this is not the case. Mental illness such as PTSD, Mental Abuse, Depression, Anxiety can happen from events in childhood and carry on through our adult lives but with Kate Spade that was not the case. So how does this happen and what leads someone to take their life? She was a wife and mother yet the pain in her head was too much and she wanted to stop hurting along with the pain to no fault of her own.
I can relate to this a lot in the way of my father who took his life. He grew up in a successful family also, was a Family Doctor and had a loving family around him. We did not struggle and he was all about helping families and his patients. Yet he also suffered silently, most of the time we know when a family member or close friend is suffering from depression but it is almost treated as a phase. Have you had a friend who has brought up depression in their life and how did you react to it? Did you take it seriously or dive in and see if there is a deeper problem? Most don't share that they are hurting and like peeling an onion it can take time to get the layers removed to get to the source of the problem. Patience is key along with understanding, communication is everything and listening is a skill. This is so not the case in so many instances, the pain they feel they are bringing to their family and to others becomes too much. They feel that the only way to get the pain to stop is to end it themselves and at this point, it is too late, it seems like the only solution but it is not. If you are reading this and you are suffering please stop and click here for some resources because there is help. Anyone who meets them would never be able to tell how much they are suffering and only after it happens do you see some of the small signs that where there. Like an addict, someone suffering from extreme depression can hide it very well and put on a very good fake happy face. They feel that with them gone that they will not be causing any pain to their family and friends, no matter how much you tell them you love them and need them it falls on deaf ears to no fault of their own. Remember they are sick and have an illness even though they may appear normal and healthy unfortunately we cannot see what is going on in their head.
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In the end, the pain with many becomes too much and suicide appears to be the only solution. The reason I say this is also from personal experience with my wife who left notes behind that did allow for some closure and insight, unfortunately not everyone gets that closure since there was none with my father. A good example is with Kate Spade and the statement her husband shared that goes as followed.
"Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn't her. There were personal demons she was battling."
She also left a note for her daughter, and if you caught it let me say it again "She Sounded Happy". The reason I bring up the sounded happy because there are so many examples of this being how one acts before taking their life. My wife sounded happy before taking her life and there is a video of Chester lead singer of Linkin Park laughing and having fun with family before he took his life. It is almost like the person suffering has a moment in time that they are in peace and the pain in their head has subsided. It's like they show true happiness beforehand because they know there is a permanent end to their pain.
I feel sometimes that with all the news of suicide that we are almost numb to it in a sense. This is something that cannot happen because suicide and mental illness does not have an age range or type that it chooses but is most common in 45-54-year olds. When a celebrity dies from suicide it is in the news for only a brief time and awareness is heavy for only a week or so. Why? Why doesn's something happen to start the change in this happening, the news seems to shift away and all that is said is it was a tragic event. What about the support and continual awareness, I see commercials for smoking and addiction help but what about mental illness and suicide awareness. This is a goal of mine personally to change and hope you are along for the journey. What about the 22 vets a day that die from suicide or the children that do as a result of bullying in our school systems. I truly feel that more awareness can be made and that a better support system for anyone suffering from a mental illness can be made. How, more web friendly and mobile phone apps for easier and faster support. More access to websites that offer tools and advice to those suffering. There are tools out there to help such as the suicide hotline but yet have you ever called it? I feel you would be as surprised as I was by the results of it, definitely not what I had expected. I don't say tools like this doesn't work because you can get many references to areas of support after sitting on hold for almost a minute but we can do so much more.
Where does it start, it starts with us. When is the last time you reached out to a stranger to just say hi? You never know what the stranger next to you is going through, and sometimes a stranger is easier to talk to than a close family member or friends. I know from personal experience, that I find it easier to be open to someone who doesn't know me as well as those close to me and will share more openly. I put out a video daily asking those who are going through the challenges of life to reach out to me if they need someone to talk to. The response has been overwhelming and I never knew that so many felt alone and needed someone to talk to. This has motivated me to do it daily and I feel it is small acts like this on a large scale that can help erase the stigma of suicide. You can make a difference through awareness and support just remind even your strongest friends that they are not alone and there is support.
For all those affected by suicide my heart goes out to you and it is the motivation behind what I do. I have a link here for additional suicide resources if you click here. I am also a strong believer in project semicolon because it gets people talking about this subject. If you see someone with a semicolon tattoo know that suicide has touched their lives and they are willing to talk to you about it. It's all about people helping people and we cannot forget that just remember you are not alone. Together we can help change how suicide is viewed in society and in general.
Kate Spade was just the latest to suffer from this illness and there will be more until we decide to truly focus on it. I want to remind you of those who have passed recently that have had an impact on our society and in their own way brought awareness to this disease; the DJ Acivii in April 2018, Chester Bennington lead singer of Linkin Park in July 2017, Chris Cornell lead singer of Soundgarden May 2017, Dave Mirra BMX rider in 2016, Junior Seau NFL Linebacker, Tony Scott Director, Kurt Cobain lead singer of Nirvana, Mindy McCready Country Singer, Robin Williams Actor. There are so many more to list and even more that did not have such an influence over so many but still had an influence regardless. My prayers go out to anyone who has lost a friend or family member and together let's do something about this illness that takes so many from us.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this and what my thoughts are on Suicide, Celebrities, and our Society. I would love to know your thoughts and view on this along with what changes you think could help save a life of someone who is suffering. There is so much that can be done and together if you are motivated we can make a change and we can save lives. Please if anything just remember to say hi to a stranger each day because you never know whose day you will make and it is all about people helping people.
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