What a week this has been. I woke up this morning to find out that Anthony Bourdain, the renowned chef and host of Parts Unknown for CNN, died by suicide. This past Tuesday, iconic fashion designer Kate Spade did the same.
Talking with friends and acquaintances about Spade's passing this week, I realized that her untimely death struck a very chord nerve with women of all ages. I can feel everyone thinking "If this woman wasn't happy....what's the point of trying to succeed at all?" Of course, this is a very reductive way of thinking about the reactions, but that was definitely the underpinning of the great feeling of loss we all felt.
Cultural losses aside, I think it's important to recognize that when we, or someone we care about is suffering, we absolutely must attention. I know it is a commonplace spiritual practice lately to recognize "suffering" as constructs only of our thoughts, but this is simply not true. Life can be tragic, diabolically painful, and sad. And at times, it may feel as if you are drowning in loss and regret.
What does happen, and what mental illness of any kind masks and distorts, is that these thoughts and feelings pass, eventually. They always do. That is why it always so important to feel your grief, talk to those whom you really trust (and preferably, a good therapist) and ask yourself, kindly, what is at the bottom of any feelings of extreme sadness or grief.
It is hard to feel grateful, go out for a run, make positive plans, do constructive work, or pursue your passions when you are feeling like crap. I know it. But this sadness is trying to speak to you. It is so important to listen.
If you (or a person close to you) are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) and get some help. You deserve it. xo