Monday 11 June 2018

She Seemed Happy

I really love stuff like this because it shows that you never know what's inside someone. Even if the outside seems perfectly fine

She seemed happy. He was so successful. He had it all - love, money and fame. The last time that I spoke to her she was making plans. These are all things that have been said about people after they died by suicide. They also show what we fail to see: mental illness is not about being sad all the time. You might not see the signs.

The high profile deaths this past week of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef/writer/TV host Anthony Bourdain were shocking, heartbreaking and perplexing to many.

Both of these people left behind young children, partners, families and friends. And, of course, their millions of followers and fans. The question that follows is often this: how could they do it?

Here's what I believe to be true about those who die by suicide. They don't want to die - they just want the pain and suffering to end. For those of you who have never experienced severe mental illness this must be difficult to imagine.

To feel that there is only one way out, to feel that there is no hope left and no light at the end of the tunnel must be horrible. When I went through a major depressive episode about five years ago I had suicidal thoughts. But I was one of the lucky ones; I could still make out that tiny sliver of light. So I held on. I was not without hope.

I am one of the 14.7% of Canadians who have thought about suicide, according to data collected from the Canadian Community Health survey in 2012. Sadly, 11 people will die by suicide in Canada today. It is the ninth leading cause of death in Canada. This statistic, coupled with the fact that mental illness is the number one category of disability worldwide, points to a serious health problem.

To put this into perspective, let's compare it to breast cancer. According to Statistics Canada, approximately 5,300 women will die from the disease this year. Suicide deaths will total approximately 4, 015. And there will be no pink ribbons to raise awareness of this.

Mental disorders - depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, to name a few - are complicated disorders of the brain.  What scientists know about the brain is a small amount. What is known is that these are real and they are serious.

We will lose people to suicide as a result of these illnesses. But we can save some people, simply by talking about this. Educating ourselves about mental illness is crucial. And choosing to be curious rather than judgemental is important.

Maybe the person that we need to worry about is the one who seems to have it all together, who never lets you see them cry.

KB xo

Get help: Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

1 comment:

"Eating Disorders: What Are We Truly Hungry For?"

    For two years in my 30's I had an eating disorder: bulimia. It took me ten years to admit that to anyone, even my doctor. I f...