I was so saddened this week with the news that we lost two bright and amazingly talented creatives to suicide, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
In light of the media coverage and social media outpouring, it’s a timely reminder to encourage open conversations about mental health and examine your own knowledge of mental illnesses. Everyone struggles at some point and we’re all a work in progress.
I overheard a rather loud conversation on the subway, and heard one woman say “how could she [Spade] do that to herself, she had everything.” This type of statement is all too familiar in our society; it’s the perfect union of false assumption, stigma, and misunderstanding.
Mental illnesses do not discriminate, everyone is vulnerable.
It doesn’t matter what race, weight, social status or age a person is; how loved or successful they are.
There is an obvious stigma around mental illness; so people feel the need to hide it because they’ll be ashamed, ridiculed, judged, undermined, and seen as weak if they speak up. Trust me, I’ve been there; I hid my symptoms and suspicions of something being off for years in fear of how others might judge me.
There were two key steps in confronting my mental illness: Acceptance & Asking for Help.
Acceptance enabled me to take the first step towards feeling better. How was I supposed to tackle an issue if I haven’t accepted that it’s there in the first place?
Voluntarily asking for help is one of the bravest moments of my adult life. Remember, there is strength in acknowledging there’s a problem and seeking help. It doesn’t need to be expensive either; it can start with opening to a close family member, friend, counselor; and there’s always the option of seeking non-biased help from a professional in an individual, group setting, or government supported program.
Let’s make a pact to talk about it, know about it, and learn about it.
Not every day, week, or month is going to be a great day, but if you’re struggling, please continue to put one foot in front of the other. Choose the route of recovery, happiness, and growth.
Let’s surround each other and lift each other up. Don’t judge others if you don’t know what they’re going through. Don’t brush mental illness under the rug because it seems ‘common’ in today’s society. Don’t be the problem, help be the solution.
If you or someone you know is struggling call 1-800-273-8255. Text: CONNECT to 741741.