“I don’t care if she sold her company,” I told my husband. “Each time I open my wallet or use one of her pretty purses, I think of her. Her name is on each item. And it makes me feel sad. Kate Spade is still Kate Spade.”
The announcement of Kate Spade’s suicide makes me feel very sad. I feel guilty that her products make me happy…fun designs and creations…from someone who was unhappy and now is dead. I don’t understand how someone who “had it all,” was only fifty-five years old, and had a thirteen-year-old daughter could take her own life.
Today fear, self-doubt, insecurities, feelings of failure, anxieties, and depression are on the rise. Americans are more medicated than any previous generation. According to a Huffington Post article: 350 million people globally are affected by some form of depression; 70 percent of women are more likely than men to suffer from depression; over 16 million adults have had at least one major depressive episode since 2012; and over 50 percent of Americans with major depression do not seek treatment. According to a recent study, “more Americans than ever before are stressed, depressed and anxiety-ridden” and not enough is being done to address this alarming trend.
I personally have known four people who have taken their own lives. Thinking about them, Kate, Robin Williams and Anthony Bourdain truly hurts my heart. The situations and catalysts were all different, but depression was at the core of each loss. They each had a sense of being trapped in a “black hole”…of having “no way out”…of feeling “unable to cope” with the assumptions versus reality of their lives. All had people who loved them…needed them…tried to help them. All went way before their time.
I was not close enough to these individuals to understand their situations fully, nor was I in a position to help. But their deaths plague me nonetheless. I now try to watch, listen, and gain insight to others’ true daily reality. We simply cannot know, for example, whose lack of interest, motivation, passion, or enthusiasm is driven by trouble at home or within. It may not be overtly obvious that someone who seems perpetually unhappy act this way because of a body chemistry or illness that holds him or her hostage. And, we won’t know because most suffer alone and won’t or can’t ask for help.
Family and friends will never stop asking “why?” To some, suicide comes as a complete shock. But even if the suicide was not a compete surprise, it always will be difficult to understand. It’s horrible to live with the knowledge that one was powerless to prevent it. And maybe that’s the worst part of all.
Kate Spade, I am deeply sorry that you lost a battle to demons you couldn’t shake. Despite your struggles, thank you for sharing your passion and creativity with the world. Your accomplishments were noted. I will continue to think you and smile every time I use or purchase items that bear your name. We all hope you now can rest in peace.