Many years ago, I wrote a poem while in high school. I was going through depression then, but no one knew it. I smiled every day. I was polite and poised. I made sure to represent my family’s name well. I made sure to maintain high grades and speak positive. I encouraged others and made sure no one left my presence without feeling like I truly cared about their well being. Inside I was dying. I walked out of one room with a smile and turned the corner by myself with a frown. I compared myself to other incessantly. Why wasn’t I popular? Why didn’t people like me? Why did I get teased so much? Why wasn’t my mother raising me? Why wasn’t my father raising me? I was hurt. When I wrote the poem, it was to explain to myself what I was feeling and the impact it was having on me.
Yesterday I was saddened to read the news of Kate Spade, who chose to commit suicide to escape her personal struggles. I can only imagine the heartbreak she felt in believing the world and her family would be better off without her presence. I can only imagine how hard her husband, daughter, and loved ones are searching to see if there were signs. Of course, now there are rumors of splits and mental illness. That now is not the point. With her gone, all that remains is the prevention of another such tragedy before it’s too late.
Depression doesn’t discriminate. It attacks rich, poor, young, and old. It destroys healthy and unhealthy, single and married. I’ve written how our county lost three young people to suicide in a matter of weeks. It was horrible and everyone was asking what the heck was going on. Depression is real. It is horrible. It is crafty. You can look so normal today when it’s a mask. After a while, you get good at hiding and that pain becomes your persona. It consumes you, but no one sees it because of your mask.
Qualified counselors are available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Even if you don’t think it’s that far as I once heard someone say, call anyway and let them assist. Please keep Kate Spade’s family in your prayers.