Kate Spade (top picture) and Anthony Bourdain (bottom picture)
This week of focusing on mental health work for myself personally has seen two tragic deaths which brings home the stark reality of the field of which I’m involved.
Kate Spade, a fashion designer and Anthony Bourdain, a chef and travel writer, both took their own lives this week in depressingly tragic circumstances. But the age old question will always be asked, what they have got to be worried about? All that status, all that fame, money, cars, expense accounts and houses. All going swimmingly, right? Wrong.
Let’s get something straight here. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care whether you have all of the above or none of the above delights. It doesn’t think “This person has £5 million in the bank, so he/she must be happy”. Completely wide of the mark. Mental illness will strike, and rule every corner of your life. In the cases of the two people pictured, the point of endurance had been reached to the point of no return. We won’t know what was troubling them, and it is wrong to speculate.
Also, people that attempt to take their own life come in for unwarranted criticism. It’s a selfish act, some say. It isn’t. It’s a point of no return. It’s a point where everything is utterly pointless with no means of putting it right. The people that sadly succeed in their suicide attempts want out of this mortal coil and the attendant troubles that life can throw at us. It’s not selfish. It’s a way out. Of course, the pain for those left behind cannot be imagined. But the pain for the person who has taken their life is equal, if not worse.
The two deaths mentioned are tragic and depressingly sad. But the work goes on to prevent more of this happening and to promote positive mental health, through workshops, education and regular visits to health professionals. Managing the condition is something I’ve had to do. At times it’s very distressing and uncomfortable, but at other times, it can be ok. Managing the situation is preferable to going down those dark and unpleasant avenues. Everyone is different though. It shouldn’t have to end. We are all here to do something with our time on this planet. The work goes on to stop people cruelly cutting short their existence. And everyone should be involved in that.