On Tuesday, like so many of you, I was rocked by the news of Kate Spade’s death. In quick succession I learned that she had committed suicide, which triggered so much heartache in me. I am heartbroken for her, for her husband, daughter, family, friends, and colleagues. I shared my own tribute to her on Instagram.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Kate Spade. Her death has opened up old wounds in me and so many others, and has sparked a much-needed conversation about depression and mental health. This is something I feel so passionately about, and I will never stop talking about it.
In 2010 I tried to kill myself.
In 2014 I lost one of my best friends to suicide, after a long, hard battle with anxiety and depression.
I wrote about both in a blog post I titled, “Depression: There is Hope“. Since Adrian died, it hasn’t been easy. I miss my friend terribly. I miss being able to talk to him about any and everything. I hate that I no longer have him to share life’s joys and sorrows with. And it’s been a roller coaster of a decade honestly. Most of you know that we’ve struggled with infertility— that I had two miscarriages in 2016 and we’ve been unable to get pregnant since. We’ve been through money troubles, family illness, and the typical growing pains of a new marriage. I’ve written post after post after post after post about both anxiety and depression. And I’ll keep writing about all the hard things until the end of
time my blogging career. It is imperative that people start referring to depression like the illness it is. Like miscarriage, mental illness has been a stigma for far too long.
I want to strip the shame from it.
And there is so much embarrassment and shame in it. Maybe not in the depression itself, but the byproduct of it. The 40 lbs you gained or the work you’ve half-assed or pushed to the side entirely. It’s thinking about the time you’ve missed while you’ve been there physically with your head in a fog. Shame lies in the relationships that were neglected when you simply could not care. I want to have these discussions more. I want you to understand what it’s like when I’m in it because you probably had little to no idea. People with high-functioning depression are still able to maintain that perfectly-curated Instagram account. They still smile for family photos on the holidays. I would venture say that it’s even harder to tell in the lives of the creatives you know. The bloggers who care for their kids all day and work all night. You see what they want you to see. And I want you to see that sometimes it’s ugly. Life is hard and you’re not alone.
I’m going to share some important facts and statistics with you that I found via the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Be sure to check out the website for more information.
- Nearly half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety.
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older. Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old.
- Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. <<< It’s not your fault!
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Almost 75% of people with mental disorders remain untreated in developing countries with almost 1 million people taking their lives each year.
When you’re in the thick of it, and your mind is telling you the ugliest of lies, it’s especially hard to reach out for help. But please do if you can. If you don’t have a friend to talk to or you want to talk to someone you don’t know personally, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can call 1-800-273-8255 or read stories of hope and recovery.
It never hurts to reach out to that friend you haven’t heard from in a while or send a random “thinking of you” text to a loved one. Let’s care about each other better. I know it’s in us.