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Depression Doesn't Discriminate

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader


So not too long ago, we had two high-profile suicides: Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. I'd heard of them, but didn't really know much about them. I don't really like cooking, and I am a Coach girl, not a Spade girl.

They seemed like nice people though. And it made me think of something I read in a 'zine, called Answer Me! years ago. It's the non-suicidal that make life miserable or not worth living, or words to that effect. The assholes grind us down, but so does that asshole called depression.

I envy people who can gloss things over. Nothing gets to them. Or if it does, they can deal with it. And I also wonder how deep they are as people. Or if they are people at all, if you get my drift. I feel way too deeply, and take things personally, even though I shouldn't. So I look at people who don't have empathy, or have a “tough shit” attitude about things as being, well, less than human.

But these suicides do make me wonder. How is it that people who suffer from depression, or have a predisposition to it are able to create careers for themselves? How do they not give up on their dreams, but end up taking their lives anyway, even after they've “made it”? They have the money and time to do whatever they want, even create new brands, or branch out into things that don't necessarily have anything to do with their original careers, yet those opportunities aren't enough? They seemingly have it all, but decide to end it all. This disturbs me greatly.

I came across an article that placed the blame for suicides on our culture. It's something to consider. It's not enough to just be okay it seems. Everyone needs to be a “brand”. We are pushed to “make it”. It's not enough to just have a job and a home. Everyone has to be wealthy. The writer of this article, Kirsten Powers, questioned this, and it made sense to me. Is our culture to blame for suicides, not just for the successful and wealthy, but for more ordinary citizens? Because suicides have been on the rise for several years, and that's across the board—ages, genders, races. In a society where just being enough isn't “enough”, it puts additional pressure on everyone.

Some might argue that striving for more is a good thing. It's one thing to strive for “personal satisfaction” goals. Those could mean anything—training for and running a 5K, finishing a high school diploma, losing 20 pounds and keeping it off, learning a new language, learning how to play an instrument. All of those goals are valid. Society, however, has a different way of looking at things, and if you're poor in our society, woe is you, and, why exactly are you poor? Everyone is being told that they are in total control of their destiny, and I believe that—but only up to a certain extent. I can think of an event that happened to me when I was two years old. No one should have to go through that, but the only way I could have prevented that from happening was knowing what was going to happen in the first place. Either that, or I should have prevented myself from being born. I cannot mind read, nor could I have prevented myself from being born (or else I would have) and by the way, don't feel bad about this. Your life would have gone on even without “Buenos Diaz” being around.

But as a society, we're not allowed to admit to anything bad. Not sadness, weakness, vulnerability. With all this fakeness going on, why do we continue to be surprised by suicides, whether they are committed by the rich and famous, or that seemingly cheerful next-door-neighbor who always had a smile on their face. And in a way, I think the rich and famous have it even worse when it comes to mental illness. They seemingly have everything to live for, why on earth would they be depressed? If anything, it's harder for the Anthony Bourdains and Kate Spades of this world to admit they feel sad too, and are not quite sure what to do about it. It's one thing if you're a nobody. It's something else when you're in the spotlight.

Plus, there's that mental illness stigma. Mental illness is invisible, unless we witness behavior that indicates otherwise. In our society, negativity is dismissed. We avoid it like the plague. Even questioning things is frowned upon. I think it's this fraudulent approach to life that causes problems. We can't handle the truth. Sadness is for losers. So is weakness, addiction, negativity and depression. What's the alternative when we can't handle things and asking for help is seen as not being able to “deal with it”?

Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade know. As well as several thousand unknown people each year.

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