*I posted this to social media earlier today, but feel like it needs to be said here, too.
Like many of you, I, too, was shocked by the news of Kate Spade. A successful, seemingly confident woman decided that the world and her friends + family would be better off without her. That taking her own life was easier than living it. And I’ve wrestled with how to respond to this news. It hits a little too close to home. Not because I’m some successful designer (I wish!) but because I have also struggled with depression and anxiety since young adulthood.
So here’s my moment of truth and vulnerability…
I KNOW what it is like to have those voices in your head telling you lies. Telling you your not worth it, your a failure, you don’t belong, your loved ones would be better off without you in their lives… This, my friends, is not something that goes away. It is a constant battle, just like heart disease or cancer or any other chronic illness. And yes, I take medicine EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for this disease. And yet, I am constantly aware that this is not generally accepted by society. I should be able to handle this without medication, right? I should be stronger and just get over my feelings of despair and loneliness and general overwhelm.
I hardly talk about this struggle because there is most definitely a certain level of disgrace associated with it. Somehow I am less of a human being because of this disease. Whether we want to admit it or not, we ALL contribute to the stigma that those with a mental illness (even putting that label on myself makes me uneasy) are crazy or weak or not capable.
I am so thankful for my friend who recognized the signs of depression in me and counseled me to seek help all those years ago. I will never forget her compassion. Her willingness to speak the truth without judgement. Her love and concern for my health and well-being.
We can all be that friend. We can all keep the conversation going and create a safe space for dialogue. Don’t be afraid to speak up or ask for help.
Wrestling with this illness is a life-long journey. I have good days and bad days, but thanks to modern medicine it’s mostly good days.