The passing of fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain didn’t go unnoticed. Nor should it, considering both were celebrities known by millions for the clothing accessories they brought to stores, or opening the world of famous restaurant kitchens.
Yet every day, nearly 125 people take their own lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, an epidemic so large, it’s the 10th leading cause of death in the United States — and, at least in 2016, was double the rate of homicides.
It’s so hard to imagine what could go so terribly wrong in someone’s life they feel the only solution is a permanent one. Sure, a number of factors come to light every time we hear about a suicide, but it doesn’t seem to make a dent on the number of friends, family members and neighbors we lose every year, seemingly only brought to life when someone famous decides that’s their only way out.
We can’t always see inside the people we love the most. We don’t always know what’s rumbling around in their minds, what might be afflicting their hearts.
But as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain showed us, anyone at anytime could journey past that point of no return, leaving behind those who loved them, trying to piece together what happened, and what they missed.
There are some obvious warning signs to look for, according to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, like someone outright threatening to do it, or even looking for ways to do it. But there are far more subtle signs as well, which could be easy to miss.
Like extreme mood swings, withdrawing from friends and family or isolation, talk about being a burden to others, behaving recklessly, even sudden changes in sleep patterns — either sleeping too much, or too little.
But even if we burned each and every warning sign into our memory, there are times when nothing is enough, and we simply can’t stop it.
We can’t blame ourselves. All we can do is be the best friend, the best family member, the best neighbor. Show love, show support, and be ready to listen.
No one is ever alone, and no, none of us would ever be better without you.
As far as any of us know, we get just one shot at life. It’s not always rainbows and smiles, but even the rain clouds eventually clear, and they will for you.
And if you need help, call the suicide prevention line at (800) 273-8255.
Please. If not for yourself, but for those who would be left behind, wishing more than anything they could get you back.