…because it is too tragic and sad.
…because their lives were ended much too soon.
…because it only reminds me of so many others who commit this same act every year, whether I have known them personally or not.
…because it makes me feel helpless in the face of mental illness.
…because if someone who had what is considered “success” and a “happy life” could struggle so much, how are the rest of us supposed to survive?
…because like any suicide, it leaves too many questions and emotions behind for the living to attempt to process.
I did not start out this post with the intent of causing anger, shame, or fear. I wanted to process the feelings I had as not one, but two celebrities were found dead this week by suicide. Add this to the increase in suicides over the last two decades, and it is shocking.
Everyone agrees that this is a trend that needs to be addressed. Everyone always says they are here to help, that they want to change the stigma of mental illness, and everyone always wonders why and how a person could get to this point. All good things to be pondering, but thoughts are clearly not enough.
How do we understand mental illness and the effects on the mind and body? What can we do, even if we cannot see the signs or the struggles? How do we push past the stereotypes and the stigmas to address this with empathy and support?
While discussing this, my husband asked how someone could kill themselves and leave their children behind, let alone entire families and groups of friends. My simple answer was that in the lowest of lows, nothing matters beyond getting rid of the pain. The mind sees no alternative outside of ending it all, life included. There are some people that cannot find a way out of their sadness, pain, and frustration with life and all that comes with it.
So what is the plan? The magic fix?
There is none.
I like to hope that everyone is savable and that there is always a moment to intervene or just try. But the reality is that some people are hurting too much. Some people hide it so well. Some people cannot be deterred from their escape, no matter the cost.
So as cliche as it sounds, all we can do is try our best. We can love one another, show some empathy, reach out whenever we can, and be as mindful of our own mental health as we are of others. Mental illness does not care who you are, your age, your race, your wealth, your success, or your failure; no one is immune.
So I cannot see another celerity suicide (or any suicide), for all the reasons above and more. It hurts too damn much, and it makes me feel helpless. Please, please – know that no matter how bad your life is, there is always a way out. Always.
RIP Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and the nearly 840 other people who committed suicide this week (let that sink in). You will be missed.