Addiction, Depression

What We Can Learn From the Deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

By Dr. Kerri Heath

This past month has been difficult as we learned that Kate Spade decided to take her own life.  This tragic suicide was followed by the devastating news about Anthony Bourdain just a few days later.  These deaths were shocking and confusing to the countless fans who loved these very influential people.  All were left wondering why someone who has success, fame and wealth would take their own life. If anyone should be happy, it seems that it would be the celebrities who have found a way to make a successful career out of their passion and creativity.  But that was not enough.  The money, fame, and success were not enough to ward off the demons of depression.  It is important for us to fully reflect on their lives and explore ways to prevent this from happening to others.  If Kate and Anthony were in such a dark place that taking their life seemed to be the only way to find relief than countless others must be struggling as well.

The iconic fashion designer Kate Spade was best known for her handbags with 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the United States and more than 175 international stores.  She seemed to have it all, but her husband shared that she struggled with depression and anxiety for many years.  Anthony Bourdain was a celebrity chef, journalist, food expert and social activist who had experienced success and wealth beyond his wildest dreams. His mother, Gladys Bourdain, reported to the New York Times that, “Tony had been in a dark mood these past couple of days” but she had no indication of self-harm.  These high profile deaths came at a time in society when depression is at an all-time high.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state.  In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans (age 10 or older) died from suicide which has become the 10th leading cause of death.  The hardest thing for people to do when they are struggling with thoughts of self-harm is to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline available to anyone at 800-273-8255. It is so difficult to admit that help is needed and take the steps to reach out for help.

Do you know of someone who seems isolated or alone, is struggling with depression, or experiencing “dark” moods?  It is extremely difficult to admit this pain to others, so we need to start having conversations about mental health.  It is also important for us to open up about our pain with others.  Sometimes we are in pain from things that happened in the past or maybe it is because we feel disappointment from our choices in life.  Most human beings are dealing with some pain, whether they are fully aware of it or not.  If we can share our own pain, it might normalize it for someone who is going through a very dark season of life.

Even Mother Teresa, the saint and icon for compassion, struggled in isolation with what she called the “dark night of the soul.”  She describes these moments, even years, of utter desolation in writings that have been published in Come by My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta.  If Mother Teresa experienced a Dark Night of the Soul, it can happen to anyone.  But it shouldn’t happen to anyone alone.

Addictions will accompany many cases of depression as an attempt to numb the pain.  We need everyone to step up and look out for other community members who might need support systems.  Reach out to your family and to your friends, and share examples of your own “dark night”.  Find out how others are doing and let them know that you care.  Don’t wait for depression to go away and don’t wait for it to spiral out of control.

How to Contact Passages Addiction Treatment Centers:

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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