It's been jarring recently with the news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain's deaths by suicide and I feel the need to share my own experience, so that if any of this resonates, you get the support you need. (Or urge a friend to.)
It's not that Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain are more important than the nearly 45,000 suicides that occur in the US each year (or those that occur throughout the world); it's just that these celebrities have brought the issue of mental health to light this week. Maybe this will help us wake up to remove the stigma around depression. Maybe this will make the topic “acceptable” to talk about at Christmas dinner and neighborhood block parties. Maybe their deaths will prevent one more.
I've never tried to commit suicide, but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't uttered the words,
“This is just too hard.”
“I can't do this anymore.”
“The pain is too great.”
When Anxiety has hijacked my brain for hours or days,
When I've been depressed and thought that no one cared,
When I was so ashamed of wanting a divorce that I thought it might be easier to die,
When the pain of my miscarriages were too great to bear,
When I was filled with shame at 17 for loving a girl who beat me,
When I couldn't face my own darkness.
It's just seemed too hard.
With my last miscarriage, I actually said the words “I don't want to be alive anymore.”
Fortunately, I said this to my husband, my friends, my therapist.
I got help, I let myself be held, I found purpose in my pain and I don't feel that way anymore.
But I do still get depressed. Painful emotions are part of being human and part of being a fully expressed woman and it's why we need support and tools.
We ALL have ups and downs, peaks and valleys, highs and lows, and we MUST learn self compassion and self kindness to get us through the lows. We need support – counselors, friends, loved ones, organizations who are there for us. And we have to learn to self-soothe.
I don't know much about Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain. I just know that they seemed to “have it all.”
Kate Spade's brand was so colorful and upbeat and lively. Her sister said she was afraid that if we all knew about her deep pain, we wouldn't believe in her brand. I totally get it. I too have thought that if you knew my pain, you wouldn't believe in me as a Happiness Coach.
But it's feeling more and more like we need to “come out of the mental health closet.” All of us. Whether you are a celebrity or not, we each influence others – family, friends, colleagues, via social media…
Depression is a horrible thing. It feels hopeless and you feel helpless. And it's embarrassing. I have felt so much shame when I've struggled with it because I was always “the happy child,” “the perfect one” – I just wanted to have it all together.
How many of us hide our pain because we think others don't want to hear it? Because we think others won't like it? Because we don't want to be a burden? Because it seems “weak”? Because we think we're just supposed to be happy and smiley and strong and okay all the freaking time??!!!
You don't have to be happy all the time.
Happiness isn't yellow smiley faces and bullshit emoticons.
Happiness is struggling well.
It's resilience through the pain.
It's meaningful growth.
It's deep fulfillment and purpose.
So if you've been struggling, please get support.
If you have a friend who's struggling, please urge them to get support.
Two of my clients volunteer for CRISIS TEXT LINE. Text HELLO to 741741.
If I can be of any help to you, please let me know.
And in the meantime, I'm sending so much love to Ms. Spade and Mr. Bourdain's families – and to all families that have lived with this pain. And to all of those who have suffered depression. We're in this together. #WeDeserveBetter
This week's episode of The PurposeGirl Podcast is about this issue and what to do if you or a loved one is suffering from depression. In a powerful and extremely informative interview, clinical therapist, Lisa Lapidus, LICSW, talks about why we are seeing so much depression, how to talk with kids and loved ones about it, and how to take steps to feeling vibrant. It’s a not-to-miss episode. In fact, you may want to send this one to all your friends, your kids’ schools, your family members and colleagues. Let’s fight this together – with extreme compassion and love.
With so much love,