This past week was marked by the deaths by suicide of two prominent celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. I knew of Kate Spade because I have a wife and daughters who all carry purses (and I think at least one of them is her brand); however I really followed Anthony Bourdain’s work as a foodie and amateur cook always looking to learn. I found his work on television to not only be educational, but edgy, provocative, and entertaining. Both deaths from all appearances seem shocking to even those that knew them well.
I’m no expert on depression, mental illness, or what would compel someone to commit suicide. What I do know is that money, fame, and success don’t deter the action; in fact they might actually contribute to it. I’ve seen countless pleas from people on social media trying to raise awareness of depression and as noble as that is, I’m not sure it leads to people with depression suddenly coming forward, or to make it easier for those that don’t to observe it. What I do find poignant is the testimony of those who are brave enough to share their stories of depression and mental illness to help raise the depth of the discussion.
Life is volatile and we humans are complicated. Emotions and our sheer humanity are shared equally among us regardless of station in life or money in the bank. We all strive for peace in our hearts, acceptance from friends and family, reward in our work, and strong, loving relationships. What I fear is happening in our world is a decrease in empathy; a growing unwillingness to genuinely understand someone else. Social media has become a repository of judgments and opinions meant to harm others emotionally.
We all can become better when it comes to empathy and concern for others. While there’s no proof that a change in this will reduce tragic suicides or alleviate mental illness, it can’t hurt. And, if we do make even slight changes, think about how this will positively affect us individually and improve the relationships we have.
Quote of the Week:
”Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”
~ Anthony Bourdain
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