The watch I wear on my left hand wrist every day has a small elephant reminding me to be “Calm, Cool, and Collected”. As those around me will testify in a heartbeat that I am not one of those three. It has sat on my wrist as a reminder to be one of those things. Looking down I can pretend that I am the young professional that is completely “Calm, Cool, and Collected”. In times of panic I will stare at the golden hand of the watch illuminated by the moonstone backing and remember to breathe slowly sometimes as my eyes wander to the small golden spade at the top.
Last week unfortunately the fashion designer and business mogul Kate Spade committed suicide. A few days later the chef, writer, and tv host Anthony Bordein also committed suicide. Both of these celebrities were known for their love of life and their work. The brand of Kate Spade is based on providing colorful but professional handbags and accessories for the working woman with the tagline “Live Colorfully”. The brand is all about celebrating life.
Anthony Bourdain was a tv chef personality being famous for this book “Kitchen Confidential” which discussed the true life of a cook. He was also known for his television programs and exploring foods from all over the world including cuisine that no one else was talking about. His work included a love for life, people, and sharing food.
Both of these people had wonderful lives and loved their life but both lived with depression which ended in their untilmely death by suicide. Both of these wonderful life loving people struggled with a very real mental illness. This is not to even mention the thousands of people across the United States who committed suicide within the same week.
There is a serious mental health crisis across the Unites States. Even though as a society we are becoming more aware of mental health there is still a large stigma. Just like diabetes mental illness has to be constantly monitored and in check. Kate Spade was regularly seeking treatment and taking medication. People swore that Anthony Bourdain loved life but clearly his depression was severe for him to take drastic measures.
Over the past year personally I have sought out treatment for my generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and PTSD. I see a therapist weekly and take a daily low dosage antidepressant but there are still days when it is hard for me to get out of bed. It still means alot to me when people make an effort to reach out for me.
So what can we do to help? Check up on your loved ones. Ask them how they are doing? If you have children then talk openly with your child about mental health? Use power at work for chances for employees to discuss mental health and give them resources? Volunteer with the crisis textline.
If you are experiencing problems even if you think it might be too small please do reach out. If you are an ally and believe someone may need help be proactive and reach out.