I will give you fair warning that this post is a more heavy and depressing topic than what I would normally post. But it’s one I feel is too important to ignore.
Right after I decided to start this blog fashion designer, Kate Spade committed suicide. Known for her amazing handbags and accessories, she was wealthy, had a multi-million dollar business, and was a fashion trendsetter. She also had a husband and a 13-year-old daughter. She had a life any of us would envy. Yet she suffered from depression so badly she felt she had no other option but to commit suicide.
Soon after that another celebrity Anthony Bourdain commuted suicide. Such tragedies.
It can be hard to understand how someone, who on the outside seems to have it all, would do such a thing. Especially, when they have a child. But anyone who understands mental illness even a little bit knows that someone who is depressed truly thinks the world is a better place if they aren’t in it. Regardless of how amazing their life might seem. It doesn’t make their depression go away. Money truly can’t buy happiness. People who commit suicide do so because they finally reach a point where they don’t have the strength to keep going one more day. And that is so incredibly sad.
In several articles I read about her death it stated that the suicide rates over the last 20 years for women in mid-life had risen 60%. This completely piqued my interest since I’m in that range. I thought surely, that was an inflated number. There was no way it could be right.
I did more research and statistics ranged anywhere from 49-60%. Specifically in middle-aged women over 45-65. Showing me that unfortunately, those stats were right. I found it a scary thought.
SIDE NOTE: Men in this age range are also affected, and I do not want to diminish that in any way but for purposes of this post I’m focused on women. Since I am one.
Because the majority of my friends and I fall into the middle-aged demographic after the death of Kate Spade, we had a lot of conversation around the topic of women, stress, and suicide. And honestly, even without factoring in severe clinical depression, it’s no wonder that women in this age bracket struggle.
I look at a typical day of mine, and I’m juggling several jobs/projects, trying to be a kickass mom, a good wife, a good ex-wife, good friend, keep up on daily things like paying the bills and making sure my kids don’t starve. I worry about things that haven’t happened yet like college or a new roof.
My life is constantly go go go from sun up to sun down, and it’s stressful. Have I ever felt like suicide was my only option? No. But I have sat in my car and cried wondering how the hell I was going to get through the rest of the day. I have consumed an entire bottle of wine in one evening because I felt sorry for myself. All while knowing I needed to put on a happy face for the kids.
DISCLAIMER: I am not getting shit faced in front of my kids. That happens when they’re at their father’s.
I would be so bold to say all us women have days like this at some point. Some more than others but we’ve all been there. The one thing that does confuse me just a bit is women 50, 60, 100 years ago had it worse. In my opinion at least. I can’t imagine not having modern conveniences, running water, a Wal-Mart supercenter, and tampons.
So why are suicide rates getting worse?
I can’t answer that question, but the part I can play in all this is to listen and observe and be there for my friends. Even people who aren’t my friends. You never know what someone is feeling and when they might need someone to talk to.
I also feel if we practice self-care and know when we’ve reached our limit it’s ok to take a break. Go for a walk, take a nap, do whatever we need to reduce our stress and put things in perspective.
Building a circle of friends who you can lean on in times of need and who will help you get through life’s rough patches is important. Loneliness has also proven to contribute to suicide rates. Humans need companionship, and it’s so easy to get busy and put sustaining friendships on the back burner until you have more time. But then you wake up one day and realize you’re friends have drifted away, and in your time of need, you don’t have that close friendship circle. I’ve been there, and it made going through my divorce a lot more difficult than it needed to be.
My challenge to you today is to do at least one thing to help someone else. It will end up helping both of you!