Depression and Suicide: Be On The Lookout
Today when I woke up and heard that Anthony Bourdain had committed suicide, I was saddened, but not shocked. I wasn’t expecting Bourdain to end his life, but I realize that no matter how happy people seem in pictures and on television that there is always a story behind the face. With Kate Spade committing suicide earlier this week, I’m sharing 5 things you need to know about depression and suicide.
This afternoon a colleague of mine reached out to me about Bourdain’s passing. My colleague explained that “with the life this guy had, the money, the travel, the adulation, the good family life… I’m sorry but I just don’t get it.” ‘It’ being suicide. ‘It’ being depression.
Initially, a person not understanding depression and suicide annoyed me, but instead of being annoyed, I wrote about it instead.
Here are 5 things you need to know about depression and suicide.
- No matter how rich, famous, adored, or loved that a person seems they still have problems and issues that may be unresolved. For example, money doesn’t solve problems of low self-esteem, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual abuse, fear, anxiety, spousal abuse, being heartbroken, etc. Money is money and it does a lot of things. But, money does not solve all your problems. Money does not prevent suicidal thoughts.
- When a person becomes successful, they still have problems from their past which may haunt them. There are celebrities who’ve admitted being called ugly by their family members, who’ve admitted to being physically abused by their parents and even though they’ve become wildly popular, they still struggle with accepting their looks and accepting themselves. Success does not change the scars you carry.
- Instagram, Facebook and other forms of social media which portray a person in a happy environment do not paint the entire picture. I can take a photo smiling at 1:30pm and then head to the therapist and cry about my family issues. I don’t take a picture of myself in the therapist because I don’t want you to see me crying. But the fact is, I was crying. And, you didn’t know it. Social media is not an accurate snapshot of what a person is going through. A person can have suicidal thoughts and still appear happy on social media.
- Television is fake. As much as I love television, writers are hired to create compelling stories. Reality TV, hosting shows all have elements of fiction. A tv host who performs with high energy but really has the flu and would rather be at home is not showing you his or her true self. Celebrities, TV personalities, and movie stars are rarely what they seem on television or in the movies. Celebrities suffer from depression and have suicidal thoughts just like other people.
- Many people who commit suicide are looking for a way to end their pain, not necessarily their lives. Andy Spade, husband of Kate Spade, was quoted saying that Kate had fought depression and anxiety for many years. In studying suicide and depression, I’ve learned that many people characterize their struggles as fighting with a monster or fighting a dragon. Some people give up because they’ve been fighting monsters and dragons for as long as they can remember. For some people this fight has gone on for decades.
No one is immune to depression or suicidal thoughts.
At the end of the day, no one is immune depression or suicidal thoughts. No amount of money, fame, adoration, travel or good family life can cure a person of depression. During the times when I battle depression, I utilize the tools found in the book, Feeling Good. But I’ve also accepted that there are good days and bad days. I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely free from depression but I know that I have more good days than bad. I want everyone who battles depression to consider that they just might have more good days than bad also. And, if they need help or someone to talk to, please call: 800.273.TALK.
Yasmin Shiraz is a Screenwriter and TV producer who has worked for Lifetime, A&E, Bravo and PBS. She’s a best selling author of more than 11 titles and the founder of Black TV Film Crew. She is the CEO of Still Eye Rise Media.