MENTAL ILLNESS DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE.
Kate Spade's sudden and unexpected suicide is a tragic reminder that mental illness does not discriminate. Mental illness doesn't care about the color of your skin, your socioeconomic background, your religion, or the opportunities you have been presented with in your life. Mental illness is a disease that can affect us all -- even the most affluent, the most famous, the most abundant, those the most loved by society. Those with a beautiful family.
The thing about mental illness is that often times, it's a silent disease. There is still so much stigma around it that people who experience it keep it to themselves. To talk about our depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, bipolar, etc is perceived as shameful; unlike other physical diseases such as cancer, which evoke sympathy.
This means that people around us may be suffering, silently. I saw somewhere that Kate did not seek treatment for her illness because she did not want her brand to be defamed. This is the problem. This is why we need to get the conversation going.
Did you know 1/4 people experience mental illness throughout their lives? And the other 3/4 perhaps are not diagnosed, but they most likely experience symptoms of stress, isolation, shame, low self-worth and lack of self-love and esteem as well. This is why the conversation is important -- because when we speak honestly and openly about our experience, we create a safe space for others to do the same. We can band together in our humanity.
LIFE IS HARD, and it's okay and completely understandable to feel these ways. You are NOT alone.
My life's mission is to destigmatize mental illness in the most profound way because I think so much of it is a symptom of our humanity and common to us all. That will take time. For now, I can be a voice of honestly, vulnerability, and authenticity about my own experience. And so can you.
Check in with your loved ones today, give an open ear, and perhaps share a part of yourself that will enable someone else to open up. Who knows the ripple effect this may have.