Recently, we were all made aware of the terrible tragedy that is Kate Spade's suicide. A wealthy icon that produced art in the form of handbags beloved by girls and women of all ages. A simple bag, yet yearned for, saved for, and dreamed of by many.
A legacy, some might say.
Never in the spotlight for negative news, only admired and loved. Yet someone that had a life that was too difficult to bear. Someone that felt as if no other path was sufficient.
A seemingly perfect life, yet one that caused a tragic decision.
I have seen post after post memorializing her, mourning her, and sending love to her friends and family. This is wonderful and I am so glad that people are doing it. Yet, where is this love and support and mourning when it is someone from our school? Someone from our church? Someone from our community? It doesn't exist.
Suicide in our communities, and with people we know, is met with silence, with brushing under the rug, and even with ridicule.
The victims, and yes victim is the correct word because they suffer greatly from depression, anxiety, and mental health issues, are met with accusations of attention-seeking, quiet judgment, and being brushed under the rug.
There are no posts on Facebook, flowers laid near a place that represents them, or prayers sent for the families. Blame is placed on the victim and the ones closest to them, since they "must" have done something wrong. Yet, it is this society that has failed them. When the signs were there, no one cared to recognize them.
That kid sitting alone at lunch? Oh, I'm sure he's fine.
The girl crying in the bathroom? Oh, she just wants attention.
The nurse that sees the scars from cuts on the arm of the girl, yet doesn't want to say anything.
The teacher that suspects a child being abused, yet feels as if it's too much to try to report it.
We have to start being advocates for those in our community as much as we are for the people we don't even know.
As tragic as Mrs. Spade's death is, it should be an example that suicide is real. Depression is real. Anxiety is real. And it can happen to anyone. Outer appearances mean nothing. The seemingly happiest person, who has it all, can be drowning in a dark swell of depression on the inside.
So how do we know what someone is going through if they never show signs or ask for help? Look closer. Go out of your way to check on people, do nice things for people, and love on people. The smallest act can change the course of someone's day, and maybe even their life.
And if suicide creeps its way into the lives of those near you? Recognize it. Do not judge. And love on the ones that were closest to them.
Suicide is a grim reaper in a dark cloak to those that experience its luring voice, yet it is as invisible as the air we breathe to those that never face it.
Be the light in someone's life that drowns out the darkness, and recognize mental health every moment of life, because it IS there, not only when a famous person deals with it.