First, it was Kate Spade then it was Anthony Bourdain who shocked the world with their untimely death. Both of them are successful in their respective fields. Kate has etched her name in the fashion industry as one of the most ingenious designers of her generation. She was known for creating unique, classy, and intricate designs of every girl’s must-haves—shoes and bags. Anthony, on the other hand, is a famous chef, author, and host who has traveled different parts of the globe to share his cooking expertise and thoughts on other important matters about life on his show, Parts Unknown.
When I heard about the news, I must admit that I was struck not only with the manner of their death but of the reality that depression is truly a silent killer. It can happen to anyone but it has no signs. Therefore, it is difficult to recognize someone who struggles with it because its symptoms are not visible even to the most tangible parts of our body. Depression does not only hides the truth and conceals the pain, it is an everyday struggle to quiet the demons in your mind who steals not only your self-esteem but your sense of purpose. While anti-depressant helps, it is one’s inner being that needs to be healed.
The fact that Kate and Anthony are at the prime of their careers when they experienced depression signifies that there are more than what meets the eye. That we have to realize what a smile can hide and that success means different to each one of us. But one thing is for sure, everyone we meet is fighting battles we know nothing about and that we all have to be constantly reminded of these important things:
1. You have a purpose. We have different battles in life and I can’t say that one’s circumstances are better or worst than the other. It is true that we have crosses to bear that’s why it is important to remind yourself that there is a sovereign God who’ll not only help you carry your cross but will also lighten your burden. Faith is very important. It is the only thing you can hold on to when friends, loved ones, and family seemed to be out of reach. Hold on to that still voice in your heart that pushes you to go on. You are here for a reason. Nothing in life is an accident—not even you. Take that baby steps and push through. It doesn’t matter how long it takes… take heart and try to put back all the pieces until you realize that it was all part of God’s bigger, grander plans.
2. You don’t have to be perfect. Comparison is truly a thief of joy. With all the overwhelming things we see on social media and mainstream scenes, it becomes so easy to get disconnected with our inner core. We are too obsessed in finding our worth on fleeting things. We sometimes forget that our flaws made us human—that though we’re not perfect, our existence matters. We are defined by this world and other people’s opinions. We long for acceptance that we’re too afraid to make mistakes, to be rejected, to be left behind. But let me remind you that its ok. Be silly. Have fun. Take chance. You don’t have to be perfect, you only need to be true. Let the world see who you are, and see how it surprise you.
3. Life isn’t always sunny. Whatever the weather is, bring your own sunshine, because yes, there will be gloomy days and things will fall apart. There will be moments where you’ll need to drag yourself out of the bed and will ask what does it truly means to be alive? Or simply feel that there’s a whole in your heart that aches when you breathe—and sadness, your long lost friend is here to be with you again. How is that even possible to live and die at the same time? Take a deep breath. It might be stormy now but it can’t rain forever. Life may not always give you all the reasons to be happy, but learn to at least hold on to that one reason that makes your heart sing. And soon, all the reasons why you’re here will unfold on ways you’ve never imagined.
4. You are loved. I think one of the reasons why suicides become rampant is the dilemma that other people perceived depression more as a “mental condition” rather than lack of love and care for others. We often think that it can easily be shrugged of, or a person who’s experiencing it is just overthinking and creating drama. Most of the time, they don’t need us to fix the situation. They only need someone who will listen, who will make them feel that they are not different—someone who’s patient enough to remind them that what they’re going through may not be easy but they will soon get better. They need someone who’s bold enough to tell them that negative self-talk wont help but loving enough to share listening ears and warm hugs.
5. There’s hope.- When we lose hope, we go back to things and people that inspire us in what we do—the reasons why we started in the first place. A person with depression will most likely forget about these things. That is why it’s very important, that as a friend or a family member, to consistently remind our loved ones that they’re not alone regardless of what their battle is. For one, there is a good Lord who’s just waiting for us to find rest in Him; and that there is hope—that they don’t need to figure things out but at least they have to hold on to something that reminds them that they are loved even at days when they can’t even love their selves.
Depression isn’t only a state of mind or a figment of our imagination. It is real. It is happening and might be experienced by our loved ones with the sweetest smile and most sound, cheerful laughter.
The death of famous personalities like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade is a reminder that even the strongest, successful people we know are not an exemption. Their fate is a perfect example of how our thoughts affect our whole being and that what we think about transcends in our lives. On that note, I hope you’re feeding your mind right.
If you or your loved one is experiencing depression, don’t be afraid to tell it to someone you trust. You might think that no one understands what you’re going through, but help will only come when you recognize that there’s a need for it.
Life is not perfect. It has its fair share of bumps and rough roads, lows, and blows. When you hit rock-bottom or feel that you’re at the lowest point of your life, don’t be afraid to speak up, but most importantly to look up. For there is the Almighty healer who restores everything—even your most broken heart.