Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and Suicide TW
It’s been four years since Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. The same for Kate Spade. Spade died on June 5th, 2018. Just three days later, Bourdain followed her. Tragedy is not the right word. Suicide is not tragic. It is filled with sadness, hopelessness, self-hatred, and love. Love for the people who are cared for, holding the belief that the pain being caused to them through your existence will stop once you are gone.
This is not tragic. This is the result of corrupted thoughts. Thoughts that you believe are true, that are real. Instead, these thoughts are lying to you. They are indeed true in that they exist. But only because they exist. What the thoughts mean is wrong, completely wrong. They bubble up from uncontrollable depression and continually repeat their poison to you:
You only hurt people
You’ll always be hopeless and sad
Nothing will change. This is forever
Those you love need you to not exist; you do nothing but hurt them.
This is out of love, not anger or spite. But love.”
I know these thoughts intimately. They’ve plagued me my entire life. I can only assume they plagued Bourdain and Spade as well. But that’s only an assumption, no one ever knows how someone’s thoughts affect them.
Depression is an insidious killer.
It convinces you everything is ok all the whole chipping away at your confidence, your energy, your interests, and your life. Soon you go from lunch with friends to isolating in your room to apathetic to even watch Netflix.
*Depression is fucking brutal. It’s not being sad like everyone assumes. It takes away all joy, happiness, pleasure, and motivation, replacing it all with apathy and numbness*
It’s important to understand this: Depression kills. Not just physically, but spiritually. Quality of life plummets until there is nothing at all.
I’ll say it again: Depression kills the soul.
Most people don’t understand this, assuming Depression is just sadness and after a couple of days, you emerge from your room bright-eyed and so charged with happiness and motivation, you’re going to change the world.
If you think this is what Depression is, please read what I wrote above again and again until you get it.
What makes things worse is the appalling state of health care in America. It’s even worse for mental health. Therapists take months to accept new patients—and that’s even if you’re lucky enough that they take your insurance.
Psychiatrists are worse. Most are not taking new patients. And the ones that are studied podiatry and are prescribing medication that changes your brain and mood from an outdated book.
I have Bipolar 2 with generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, and ADHD. The amount of medication I take to control the symptoms fills up an entire pill holder container. And they just provide a floor for my illness. I still suffer from crushing depression. My anxiety is so bad, I can’t step outside without panicking. I’m afraid of everything. Walking half a block blocks to 7-11 is a struggle. Because anxiety is the beast that makes you worry about every eventuality that can occur.
I fear something bad is going to happen every minute of every day. And it sucks.
Mostly it’s stupid stuff: will I embarrass myself? How do I look? Will people judge me? But it can morph into will I get in a car crash? Will I get hit by a car? Will my bank card work? Will someone attack me?
But it’s also irrational thoughts: I can’t be near people; Outside is too much, too big (I was recently diagnosed agoraphobic); my roommates are conspiring against me; everyone hates me.
Nowhere is safe from anxiety. And it’s exhausting.
There is a term in DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) called Wise Mind. Yes, that’s what it’s actually called. It’s the practice of combing logic with emotion to force the mind to figure out what’s true or not.
I’m very bad at it. But it’s the golden state in mental health treatment.
Combine depression with anxiety and you’re going to be having a bad time. Depression is the monster that keeps reminding you of what you’ve done wrong. Even the little things. A distorted view of everything you’ve done. It is your past clinging to you.
It tells you;
Death is the only way to escape this.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is you trying to predict the future. In psychological terms, it’s called Fortune Telling. It means you believe you know what’s going to happen at the concert you’re going to; when you go out with friends; when you get on that plane; when you go to work.
And it’s always bad. Horrible things are going to happen. So you cancel plans, you delay your flight, you miss work for the X time. Anxiety, like depression, destroys your life. It makes you live in fear all the time, trying to protect yourself from phantoms.
Psychologists have determined there are four physical reactions to anxiety: Fight, Flight, Freeze, and Fawn.
I freeze. When my anxiety is high, I just stop everything and retreat into the comfort of the internet. I don’t go out, I don’t eat, I don’t sleep. I just stop.
Anxiety is not just feeling uncomfortable or a bit fearful. Anxiety is full-on run screaming into the woods, shuffle under a huge bush with the rabbits, and do not move. Ever.
Anxiety kills. Much like depression, except with panic attacks: a wave of anxiety so strong you break down. Some people go into psychosis. Some attack other people.
Panic attacks are dangerous. They’re not you getting really afraid of going to a party. They fall to the ground sobbing and screaming, begging to be killed.
We need to treat mental illness so much better in all countries, but especially in America. We need to treat our mental health like we treat cancer. Or diabetes. Or the flu. It is not a personality flaw or a weakness in a person. You are really, truly ill. Only the illness is in your mind. And the affects your mood and how you present yourself. It affects how we perceive reality.
I have attempted suicide many times. Each time I ended up in the hospital. My last visit exposed how horrible the conditions and treatment are in mental hospitals. I wrote a post about it here: Briefings on a Descent into Hell
When you have a mental illness, your brain lies to you. And when you can’t trust yourself. And when you can’t trust yourself, what do you do? You become lost, confused, and scared.
So if you are hurting or your brain is lying to you or you are hopeless, I want you to know I am here for you. I know that might not mean much, but I’ve experienced almost every horrible thing that comes with mental illness. You have my empathy and support. You are not alone. I always say every human is intended to exist. And if that person leaves this existence prematurely, especially by their own hand, a hole is punched through existence. A hole that can never be filled. A hole that will swallow everyone who cared for that person.
Just remember what Carl Sagan said:
“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
You serve a purpose in this world. The universe needs you. You are made of star stuff.
If you are in a mental health crisis, here is the national suicide hotline:
You can call or text it at any time to talk to a caring professional who does understand.
There are others here for you. Don’t be ashamed to reach out. You are not weak. You are not broken. You are not less than everyone else for seeking help. You are strong. You made it this far. Keep going.
You need to hear someone say you’re loved and you are worth it. Because you are.
Please, don’t give up. And for everyone else, let’s improve mental health perception and treatment. It’s becoming an epidemic.
Remember, you are loved. You really are.