I was stunned by the news. The woman whose brand was sparkle had killed herself. Kate Spade. The woman who penned several life mottos for me: “She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes” and “She is Quick and Curious and Playful and Strong.” She believed in a “world filled with seersucker and polka dots – friends and fireflies – cocktails and crosswords – personal style and simplicity.”
I remember my first Kate Spade purse – bright pink with a big bow. My friends laugh at my loyalty to her as I save up my money and then carry a single purse around every day for years until the next irresistible Kate bag catches my eye. It was the Kate Spade persona that inspired me a few years back to have a Celebration of Sparkle party. In fact, as the news spread, several of my friends messaged me saying they thought of me when learning of her passing.
While I have endeavored to emulate the woman that the Kate Spade brand describes and live my life colorfully and with a good dose of sparkle, like Kate the woman, my life journey has also included anxiety and depression. Kate reminds us that two truths may co-exist. There may be sparkle and there may be sadness.
Anxiety and depression are as common as candles on a birthday cake. But with the early diagnoses, I felt shame, embarrassment, and weakness. Something was wrong with me. In my mind, I immediately became less than compared to my colleagues, co-workers, and everyone else in the world I imagined were doing life perfectly and without struggle.
Dealing with anxiety for the last couple of years has meant serious and impactful life changes. I no longer have the luxury of pushing myself up against imaginary and impractical standards of perfection. It is medically required of me that I rest often and become a steadfast practitioner of self-care. I take medication to help slow-down my otherwise rapid-fire, relentless stream of thoughts. I now tell the truth about my imperfections. I leave large events when I feel overwhelm. I ask for help when I am on the interstate 3 hours from home and I cannot drive any further. And I understand and grieve when the woman who inspired me for years seeks permanent rest.
If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here are ways to help:
Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress. You can learn more about its services here, including its guide on what to do if you see suicidal language on social media. You can also call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone about how you can help a person in crisis.
Text HOME to 741741 to have a confidential text conversation with a trained crisis counselor from Crisis Text Line. Counselors are available 24/7. You can learn more about how their texting service works here.
For online chat, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides a confidential chat window, with counselors available 24/7. Boys Town also provides counselors for youth-specific online chat at this link. It is available every Monday through Friday between 6 p.m. and midnight in the Central time zone.