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What It Was Like to Hear About the Recent Celebrity Suicides as a Suicide Attempt Survivor

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Another morning has come, and I am awakened like clockwork by my anxiety. Just another side effect of my depressive episode. I have nowhere to go, and nowhere to be, but my depressed, internal alarm clock has me on Facebook at 6:30 a.m. just for fun. I immediately notice my newsfeed has been overwhelmed by the same story. Celebrity chef and longtime television personality, Anthony Bourdain has died by suicide at the age of 61. My first thought was, Another person has lost their battle with depression or whatever demons they were haunted by. For someone like myself who has attempted suicide, the loss of a stranger can cause intense emotional strain.

Earlier this week well-known designer Kate Spade also died by suicide. I was equally shocked by her death. You never know what someone is going through, and outside appearances can be be misleading. Tragedies like these remind us all that success does not equal happiness, and mental illness does not discriminate. It also strikes fear into the hearts and minds of suicide survivors or people who have contemplated suicide in the past or present. You start to wonder about yourself, and if you are going to survive. I had similar thoughts when Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington died by suicide just last year. All of these celebrities were older than me, and it made me think, “What if my suicide is inevitable?” They all fought for so long, but then at 41, Chester’s depression lead to his death, Chris at 52, Kate at 55, now Anthony at 61. Sometimes it makes me feel like my death is imminent, and I wonder at what age I will eventually lose my own battle.

These ideas can spiral out of control in our brains, and can make depression worse. Then you might feel selfish for seemingly making their death about you, but that is not the case. You may start to wonder if medication and therapy are just prolonging the inevitable. Please understand that is your depression lying to you, and that while death is inevitable for us all… suicide is not. It is incredibly difficult to think positively when you’re currently suicidal, but not impossible.

As hopelessness sets in, I ask my fellow mental health warriors to remember this. You’re story is yours and yours alone. We are all on our own path, and while we may have suicidal ideation in common with these men and women, it does not mean our story will have the same ending. We have to keep fighting our chronic mental illnesses. We have to keep going and promote open and honest discussions about mental illness and suicide. The stigma must be eliminated. It will literally save lives. My thoughts and all my love go out to Anthony Bourdain’s and Kate Spade’s loved ones, as well as anyone who is feeling suicidal. You are not alone. Please reach out, talk to someone and ask for help. Let’s keep going. Let’s honor their memories by fighting the good fight… by surviving.

Photo via “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” Facebook page

Originally published: June 8, 2018
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