Today’s news of Kate Spade’s death is hitting me particularly hard. I’ve purchased her lovely items numerous times over the years and have friends who adore her handbags. She was a quirky, original, classy woman who seemed to have everything going for her. She was only 55. I am heartbroken that she’s gone, and I’m trying to parse out exactly why, in a time of so much bullshit and heartache, this particular tragedy is hitting me so hard.
I think it’s probably because I’ve been in a place of extreme despair myself. I can say now that, during that dark and lonely time, I considered that the quiet and peace of whatever-comes-next would be tremendously more appealing than sitting with the agony of my eviscerated heart. I have been on the floor, sobbing into pillows so my children wouldn’t hear me, and asking God and the Universe WHY this horrific pain had been handed to me and asking for it to be taken away – anything to make it stop.
Those thoughts scared me. It’s only now, a few years later, that I can even admit I was there – staring into an unfathomable abyss. That’s a lonely place to be no matter who you are and no matter what may have brought you to that precipice. I have extreme compassion for anyone who has stood there, and I want you to know you’re not alone.
Depression is no joke. It often isolates those who suffer from it and stigmatizes those who talk about it. We must try to do a better job at understanding those who are hurting. We must try to hear their voices when they are brave enough to step forward and share their feelings or ask for help. We must get better at just sitting with pain because we all have something that hurts us. We must become better keepers of our families and neighbors and friends. We must be gentle. We must look out for each other and notice when someone is missing or quiet or sad. We must practice kindness and tolerance and love. We must do better.
We must also speak of our sadness, not just our success. When we get knocked down, we need to ask for help. When we see someone on the floor, we must pick them up. When we are on the other side of whatever fire we’ve walked through, we need to show our blistered feet as evidence of a hard and terrifying walk – proof that even the deepest burns can be endured and survived.
We must do this so those who stand at that abyss will know they’re not alone.
*If you need them, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has people standing by 24/7 to provide free, confidential support.