Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade ended their lives within a few days of each other. I am sad because I have walked around that rabbit hole and slipped in for a little while. The cause is often major depression, although there can be other illnesses or personal factors that cause the person to make the final push. The truth is, unless the person has left a detailed letter explaining why, it’s hard for close family and friends to understand.
You may hear comments such as “He seemed just fine!” “I talked to her just a few hours ago.”
But, people with depression learn to hide and wear a mask in their daily world. That way, we look fine! You cannot imagine what is going on in the mind, and I am hard-pressed to explain it. Depression stays in your body 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sometimes it quiets itself; sometimes it is forward and pushing aside any logical thinking or action. I call my depression the “Bad Critic,” because I am a writer. For me, the critic edits everything I say, think, or do, unless I can stop it. I try to refocus on something else or count my breaths very consciously. Outside people and events can affect it, and it is often misdiagnosed.
I had panic attacks when I was a child. The doctors could find nothing wrong with me so they blamed it on “growing pains,” puberty. But it got worse, and people around me thought I was making it up, so I developed my own coping skills by learning when and where I would panic, and what I could do to ease it.
By the time I was a teen, the Bad Critic had showed up, and I was in indescribable pain. I hid at home. I attended as few outside activities as possible. I just wanted to sleep. As I grew older, I sensed something was wrong with me, but I thought it was a character fault–seriously!
My depression was not diagnosed until I was 35 years old. Suicide is not supposed to be an option in our society, but neither is mental illness. To all those who suffer, try to keep walking one step at a time. There are people who can help you, but in the end you are alone with your mind.