I could tell you how many handbags I have. I could tell you how many pairs of earrings, watches, shoes, and other accessories I have bought. I should tell you the number of décor items that line the walls and shelves of my home, office shelves, and various personal spaces, but I won’t. Because it doesn’t matter. I am head to toe Kate Spade. One of her biggest and brightest fans and despite my love of her designs and my “inventory,” it simply doesn’t matter.
It won’t bring her back.
Society has lost another great mind and life. Secret depression won the battle with Kate Spade when she decide to end her life. Family members report that she has been battling with depression for years and showed warning signs, but never thought she would harm herself. Her husband stated Kate refused to seek treatment out of fear of what damage the “stigma” would cause to her happy-go-lucky reputation and brand…and that’s when I truly felt my heart break for Kate.
I recently wrote a blog for Chester Bennington titled “This is my December” expressing how his suicide felt personal to me, because he was a favorite artist of mine and Kate Spade’s suicide also hits close to home. Again, I did not personally know Kate Spade. I simply admired her designs and took pleasure in her whimsical patterns, shared in her passion for creativity, and believed in her motto of “live colorfully.” In an essence she was like a kindred spirit. Kate Spade was my favorite designer. She wasn’t a close, personal friend, but she was an icon. She was a symbol. Not just to me, but to millions, and she was afraid to seek help because of a stigma that society has created against depression.
And can you blame her? Anytime a celebrity shows any signs of needing help they are attacked and jokes start to fly. Why do we joke about depression and mental illness, but not other illnesses? When did that become okay? The go-to seems to be Britney Spears, because she did not keep her fans in the dark during her darkest times. And the punch line? Don’t shave your head! Why weren’t we shouting “do what is needed until you are better.” or “how can we help?” or at the very least “leave Britney alone!” Even that last one was taken out of context by the media. Cameras flashed and headlines printed as she cried out for help. Joke after joke. Of course I use Ms. Spears as an example, because I am a huge fan and I felt she was mistreated in the media, but I also use her as an example because of her success. Britney has two of the biggest comebacks under her belt yet she is only praised for one of them…she is known for her comeback in the music industry, but her biggest success story is her overcoming depression.
Ignoring depression and mental illnesses has to stop. Depression is just as real as any other illness. It’s not just a glamorous, Hollywood illness. I have had it. Your next door neighbor might have (or has) had it. Your best friend, mother, brother, favorite co-worker, local barista, that funny guy you see every week at happy hour, but don’t know his name, you name it, but someone you know has it. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimate that nearly 16.2 MILLION adults in the United States alone had at least one depressive episode in 2016. (NIMH Web Link) That’s right, MILLION. So why are we so afraid to talk about depression? Is it because we do not know what it is or what the root causes are? If so, educate yourself. Lack of knowledge and lack of compassion can no longer we tolerated as excuses. How many more brilliant lives will be lost to mental illness before it’s socially acceptable to talk about? We openly talk about breast and testicular cancers all the time…why can’t we talk about the mind?
Again, here is the number to that national suicide prevention hotline. Your life matters. Please call if you are in need or for whatever reason you have. 1-800-273-8255.
To Kate, I hope you rest peacefully and beautifully. Thank you for coloring my world all these years.