name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : June 2018


Why We Need To Talk About Mental Health - What Kate Spade's Death is Teaching Me

The loss of Kate Spade has triggered more than I could ever imagine. When the news broke, I immediately texted it to my sister – not as informative thing – but almost as a warning. We would feel this one just like we felt it with recent suicides of other famous people.

I don’t want to discredit anyone’s loss of someone they love, but I do feel – for me, personally – grief after suicide has been completely different than any other. The questions, the constant wondering, the whys and how could theys. After two years of losing my brother to his depression, our minds swirl at an almost petrifying pace. We have been left exhausted, frustrated, scared, and confused.
And for those who have been knee-deep in it with me, they know I have sat in anger more than anything.

Yes, I have been angry at him. That’s hard to say and hard to admit. I have been angry that my mom hurts; I have been angry that our family has lost again. I have been angry we don’t have more answers. I have been angry that God “let” this happen. I have been angry that we often get embarrassed to say what happened. I have even been angry at myself for BEING angry.

According to the “rules” of grief, anger is normal. But, for this long? I have use my counseling background to figure out maybe I use the anger as a shield against the real feelings – the extreme pain that he’s gone – that he’s gone along with my dad. That I have to really sit and FEEL what my mom does – what my nephews do. I don’t know the emotional facts behind it, but I definitely think I am on to something with this theory.

Then, Kate Spade dies, and the headlines are all over the place. You mistakenly read the comments that she had it all, why did she leave it behind? Her husband, her creativity, and most of all, her young daughter. You read that she had choices; she had the money to get the best help. Why didn’t she just ask? And, you’re angry again.

These people do not seem to understand mental illness, but maybe I don’t either. I’ve been angry for the same reasons these commenters are – why is it okay for me to feel that but strangers can’t? I sat awake in bed last night letting that sink in. Maybe it’s time for my anger to subside. Maybe it’s time to really feel the pain of loss. Though scary – so damn scary – it just might be time.

Kate Spade may have it all including the bank account to get the best help possible, but that’s the thing with anxiety and depression. It doesn’t hand-select the lesser known nor does it discriminate with age, race, etc. When that demon comes in and comes in strong, some people know nothing else – they no longer want to be that burden to others or to themselves. They don’t trust themselves to get better or make it better. It could be years of hurt or just a moment, but when depression comes, we often struggle because it’s SO big.

So, if you read those comments about strangers being angry about her choice, you have to remember that some just don’t have a choice. They either can’t see the future that is good or they honestly feel this is the best answer. These commenters are giving me the chance to work so hard at digging my way out of my anger and into all the other stages of losing my brother.


And the biggest thing for me since he has died will also be speaking out – hoping mental health care improves, hoping more open up so others know there is a community out there who get it, and hoping people can wait for the good to come.

With Kate Spade's passing, I hope this can be my chance to just miss my brother without the anger. I can’t bring him back; Kate Spade’s family has to do the same. It’s ugly and physically painful, but if we want others to wait for that bit of good, I have to do the same myself.
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