The news of Kate Spade’s suicide has rocked the internet this week. It rocked me too, because like others, I associated her with the happy, quirky, and glittery line that shares her name. It struck a lot of people because she had the fame, the fortune, the family and could still bare such sadness that she wanted to end her life.
I don’t want to write a think piece on a families tragedy, so I won’t, but I did want to talk about a topic that this tragedy brought to my mind, and that’s untreated mental illness.
There is a strong stigma around mental health treatment. Some of it has to do with the fact that there is still a stigma around mental health, but some of it has to do with the person who should be seeking it.
I often hear the pitch about how we don’t think negatively about blood pressure medication so we shouldn’t about anti-depressants, and I agree with it 100%, but what I keep hearing from individuals is “I think anti-depressants are great, I just don’t need them. I’m just a little sad.”
We downplay our own problems and dismiss them, because they’re inconvenient to face. It’s scary to say we’re not okay, to have to step back from things so we can take care of ourselves. So, we push through and things get worse and worse, then suddenly, there is no return.
That’s where I think the biggest problem lies. It lies in the fact that I was able to convince myself I wasn’t depressed a few years ago even though I was crying myself to sleep every night. The way my friend told me she was okay when she had been having constant panic attacks.
It’s not that we’re telling people that. It’s that we’re telling ourselves that.
We lie to ourselves about the mental health issues we face, because we think that by doing that we don’t have to face them. The problem is, the longer you try to ignore mental illness the larger it grows. It’s a monster in the shadows and it feeds on you dismissing it.
So please, turn around and meet it’s eyes. Whether you need medication, therapy, or just support to take care of yourself. Nobody is above mental illness, no fame, fortune, or loving family can make you immune.
I send my prayers to the Spade family as they work through this tragedy, and I send my prayers to you reader, as you work through whatever you need to.