I wasn’t going to write a post about Kate Spade. I don’t have any particular connection to her fashion – that’s not to say that I didn’t like a lot of what I’ve seen of hers – but I don’t think I even own one of her items. I didn’t want to dwell on negative feelings this week, so I simply didn’t want to write about subjects such as depression and suicide, even though a blog like mine is pretty much expected to discuss such things on the regular. Especially when there is a catalyst for discussion, such as the suicide of a high profile figure, such as Kate Spade.
I thought about it briefly, but decided that I would forgo writing about her as she held no special place in my life and I personally have had a hard enough time emotionally in recent weeks. I didn’t need to focus on such a thing.
But now, within mere days, another high profile apparent suicide has happened. I woke to my newsfeed being flooded with news of Anthony Bourdain’s death. Though I connect with him a bit more – since I ‘ve been known to enjoy watching him on TV occasionally – I likely wouldn’t have written anything if it had just been him either.
The rash of high profile suicides in recent years in one way are a good thing in as far as really upping the discussion of mental health in our country. Off the top of my head I think of Chester Bennington, Robin Williams, and Amy Bleuel from the semi-colon project, but I’m sure there are plenty more I’ve not filed away in my mind. Discussions about their mental health, realizations by a lot of people that even those that appear happy can still be struggling, and condolences for their families filled my social media when each of those occurrences happened. I love that people are more willing to talk about such things these days.
It was in the not too distant past that suicide would be swept under the rug by family members, and discussed in hushed tones if/when the news got out. There was a very real fear that the rest of the family would be stigmatized as a family that had mental illness running through it. That just because one person committed suicide or was otherwise “crazy,” that the rest of the family must be too. As we know now, that while – yes – some mental illnesses can be hereditary, it is not always the case and depression is not necessarily going to effect other individuals in the family. At least not more than a peripheral effect, i.e the effect/strain one’s depression has on the people around them.
So, it’s good that we are discussing it and shining a spotlight on it in our society now.
On the other hand, I fear that such high profile cases of famous people killing themselves in all areas of industry (Music, Movie, TV, Fashion, etc) are setting an example to laymen that may have suicidal ideation.
I can’t and won’t place blame on these celebrities – their struggle is very real and I am 99% sure the thought doesn’t even cross their mind that their suicide might pose as a justification for someone else to do the same. It’s not their fault that they are depressed, and not even really their fault that they are as famous as they are either. But seeing that a celebrity you admire can and will do it emboldens you to do it too – because even cool people do it. Plus, look how the world mourns! People will care more when I’m gone, they might think.
I don’t suppose there is much to be done about this concern of mine.
This is also the reason I won’t watch 13 Reasons Why. While my interest is peaked, to be honest, I have heard from multiple sources – including some close friends with depression – that it has served as a vehicle to promote suicide among those that already struggle with such issues. It triggers negative feelings and thoughts in people with depression. It provides reasoning, flawed though it might be, for suicide to occur.
I haven’t had suicidal ideation since I was a teen, but ya know… I personally wouldn’t want to risk it.
What is my point here today? I don’t know that I have a clear one, honestly. Except to say: my condolences to Kate and Anthony’s respective families… and let’s take the opportunity to check on our own friends and family. Let’s take the chance to have frank discussions about suicide and why there’s never a good reason for it; even though others may have found what they thought as good reasoning when lost in the cloud of their own depression.