Normally I conduct tons of research before I write and post a blog. Today, I break from my tradition and just writing from my heart. I will follow up with some science because I think we would all benefit from knowing the signs of depression. For now, I offer my raw feelings about the loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
The recent suicides of Kate Spade and Antony Bourdain have left me feeling strong emotions. The day of Kate’s death (I use her first name not as a sign of disrespect but as a sign of devotion and a connection with her as a person…she seems like an acquaintance), I had to turn off the radio in my car when a song evoked a strong emotional response from me. I began to cry and my whole body went into a fight-or-flight mode. I felt raw, exposed, and vulnerable ever since her death.
Then I awoke this morning to the news (literally because my alarm clock opens to the NPR station) that Anthony Bourdain had also committed suicide.
I’m feeling very emotional, and at a loss. I achieved something big today yet I can’t celebrate because so many people are hurting.
I want to cry and moan and grieve but I feel like these avenues aren’t open to me. I don’t know why I feel this way. I just do. Maybe I feel I have no right to mourn because these people were strangers. How do we mourn? What’s allowed?
I’m so sad. I’m sad that these people who seemingly had it all had no one they could turn to and talk through their moment of pain. I’m sad that those around them didn’t see the signs (or didn’t know the signs) that something was very wrong in the psyche of these two prominent public figures. I’m so sad two remarkable people who have made such a positive impact on this world have removed themselves (violently) from the mix.
I’m hurt by the selfish act of these people. Yes, selfish. They have hurt so many people by hurting themselves. The pain their families and loved-ones feel eclipses my hurt one-million-fold, but I still hurt.
We can do better than this. We need to help people to not go the route of suicide. We can love better, deeper, more thoroughly. We can pay better attention to the needs of those around us. We can open our hearts, souls, and arms to those in pain. We can recognize the pain others are facing and respond. We can be their tribe, and as such, provide them with a safe place where they can express vulnerability.
I’m not sure who said it but this quote sums up much about suicide, “Killing yourself is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Please don’t go there! Please reach out to your tribe if you feel troubled beyond endurance. If you don’t have a tribe (or don’t know your tribe), reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. These folks are your extended tribe.