Everyone Hurts

We shouldn’t forget that ordinary nameless individuals–people walking on the street or waiting in line at the supermarket– are facing pain and living in agony just like Kate Spade was.

Unlike NAMI New York State I’m not going to criticize people who are shocked and in mourning because a famous person committed suicide.

Strip away Kate Spade’s status, take her name off pocketbooks, and she’s a person who despaired of finding relief just like a lot of us despair.

The truth is that external success doesn’t always inoculate a person from hardship or from being in pain or thinking they’re suffering alone in what they go through.

Too many people obtain external markers of success–the house, the car, whatever–and yet still feel empty inside.

I wrote about this in one of the blogs when I quoted Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper TV show fame: if you’re not happy now wherever you are in life today how can you be confident you’ll be happy in the future as long as a certain condition is met?

Happiness shouldn’t be linked to “having all your ducks in a row” or be predicated on achieving some kind of goal.

Waiting for the perfect condition in life to happen before you’ll be happy–or before thinking you’ve been a success–is a mistake.

The takeaway from Kate Spade’s death is that even great success isn’t enough to give a person joy.

For mental health peers it should come as a relief the idea that we can be happy even if our lives are ordinary and unremarkable.

We don’t have to win a Nobel Prize or otherwise become a “household name” like Kate Spade to be happy and feel worthy.

What I want to tell readers:

You are a success regardless of the number on the scale, the figure in your bank account, your status in society or anything else traditionally used to measure a person.

You are a success because you are your Self.

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No Judgments At This Blog

This is what I think about something that happened in response to Kate Spade’s death.

NAMI New York State violated one of its own peer support guidelines: “We judge no one else’s pain as any less than our own.”

In an electronic newsletter NAMI New York State dared write:

“The heartbreak that many of Ms. Spade and Mr. Bourdain’s legions of admirers are experiencing is a fraction of the emotions felt when losing a friend or a loved one.”

The audacity! NAMI New York State feels its members are more deserving than others to feel grief about a loss. NAMI New York State dares assume that other people’s pain is less than yours or mine.

This stance will only alienate people who might have sought help.

I for one have been devastated by Kate Spade’s death at her own hands. As a person with ambition who is driven to excel I acutely understand that the fashion designer might have struggled even though she was at the top of her game.

After the death-from-illness of my mentor I have been thinking often about this dichotomy exactly: Why do some people when faced with hardship keep moving along and think things can get better? While others think things are hopeless and see no way out of their pain?

Is it partly a question of being given hope when you’re at the end of your rope? Is it mostly a question of feeling rapport with your treatment providers who can give you this hope? What is the solution to despair?

In New York City The Rita Project offers hope and healing for survivors of suicide attempts via art therapy endeavors. It seems they don’t have a website (or at least I haven’t found it via the cursory Google search hits).

I offer a disclaimer header in the menu bar at the top of the blogs. What I’m really trying to do here is to offer a haven in prose where people can be uplifted and inspired.

When people are hurting the last thing they need is to have a mental health organization discount the pain they’re in.

For the record, I was distraught when a guy I had known took his own life.

I’ve thought of a way to honor friends and loved ones who have committed suicide. I want to run this by an attorney to see about the viability of doing this. It might not be possible.

Yet hey–if you’re experiencing a hardship you deserve compassion.