Hearing the tragic news of the death of Kate Spade is a raw and poignant reminder of the mental health crisis we are facing. In particular, the unspoken and largely stigmatized pain of depression.
Depression knows no boundaries. No color, no gender, no social or economic status. It is often under the guise of a smile, success, beautiful pictures and happy posts. Some of the “happiest” people are hiding the most profound pain and suffering in silence. Depression is a black hole, a vortex of pain, darkness and isolation that leads us down the path of hopelessness. Which is ultimately why people choose to take their own lives.
We feel ashamed and embarrassed. We discredit our pain and sweep it under the rug because society tells us we’re defective. We need to just “snap out of it.” We feel so lost and alone. But we are not alone. There are millions of people in the same boat, yet still, we are not able to openly speak of this affliction due to fear of public perception. How many people have to take their lives before we make an effort to break the chain? Nearly 30,000 people commit suicide every year in the US. That is a staggering number. Especially when you really think about what kind of pain and suffering it must take to get to that point. It is unimaginable for many but it is very real.
I have struggled with this for a large portion of my life. I know the shame of it very well. I have felt the agony of hopelessness. I have lived the isolation. I have put on the face day in and day out. There have been so many times that I have wanted to share my struggles with others because I know what a tremendous help it would have been if a “normal” person did that for me. I am sad to admit that I have never had the courage to do so. It has been on the tip of my tongue countless times, but I just revert back to shame and humiliation. Every time.
Today, I’m speaking my truth. If you are suffering, I want you to know that you are not alone. You are not defective. You are validated in your pain. I promise you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is possible to feel better and one day you will. You must keep taking small steps forward. These small steps can lead to an epic transformation. I’m living proof of that.
The pictures attached to this post are what depression can look like. These pictures were taken during some of the darkest times of my life. Please don’t ever judge a book by it’s cover. Always make an effort to be kind. You never know what kind of impact your kindness and compassion can have on someone who is deeply and silently hurting.
This is extremely difficult and uncomfortable for me. I feel like I am opening Pandora’s Box but things will never change if we don’t change them. I did not plan this post but I feel in my heart that this is the right time to break my silence in hopes that it brings someone out there even an ounce of hope knowing they are not alone and that relief is possible.
Silver Lining- Rock bottom is the first step towards the top. This I know.