‘Sometimes you simply cannot save people from themselves’ – Reta Saffo (Kate Spade’s Sister)

The world is still reeling from the shock of losing one of Fashion’s biggest icons.

On Tuesday the 5th of June 2018 Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur Kate Spade was found dead. Her body hanging by a red scarf in her New York Appartment, she was aged just 55.

I’m not sure if there’s a rise in suicide or if there is just more awareness surrounding the issue as it’s normally people in the public eye who draw attention to an already ongoing problem. But it seems more than ever people are starting to realise the drastic impact Mental Health issues can have on a person, which fingers crossed is a sign things are changing. I pray this encourages understanding and compassion and is no longer a taboo subject.


The will to survive is in every living creature. So it seems to be going against what’s natural to take your own life. The desire to end life must be so strong it overrides the inbuilt survival instinct which is in our DNA.

It’s always a bit more of a shock when someone who seems to ‘have it all’ takes their own life. There’s an assumption that if we have money, success, family, marriage etc… we will be happy, it’s the ‘lack’ that’s the ‘problem’ we convince ourselves. Kate’s case goes to show this is simply not true.

‘Peace comes from within. Do no seek it without.’

– Buddha

There’s truth in what Kate’s Sister said. I have never committed suicide, obviously, but I have been tempted in my darkest hour. For me personally ‘hope’ got me through. And a faith that things would get better.

It’s possible to say that when someone takes their own life, all hope and faith has been extinguished. Ultimately it is your choice to go through with the act, no matter how much loved ones try to convince you otherwise. You have to believe you have something to live for in order to survive.


People who we’ve have lost to suicide in the last few years:

 

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Robin Williams:

Renowned Actor & Comedian.

Known for his exceptional talent and lovable personality.

Born: 21st July 1951

Died: 11th August 2014

 

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Avicii aka Tim Bergling:

Swedish DJ/Musician

He was only 28 y/o at the time of his death.

Born: 8th September 1989

Died: 20th April 2018

 

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Chester Bennington:

Lead singer of American Rock Band ‘Linkin Park’.

One of my favourite bands growing up!

Born: 20th March 1976

Died: 20th July 2017

 

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Stevie Ryan:

American YouTube star and Comedian.

Beautiful, witty and funny.

Born: 2nd June 1984

Died: 1st July 2017

 

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Alexander McQueen (CBE):

World famous Fashion Designer and Celebrity.

Talented, young and at the Top of his game.

Born: 17th March 1969

Died: 11th February 2010

 

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Kate Spade:

Famous Fashion Designer and Business Entrepreneur.

Mother, Wife and Business Woman.

Born: 24th Dec 1963

Died: 5th June 2018


Looking from the outside, I’m sure you’ll agree all these people had everything to live for. So what goes on in the mind to make suicide seem like the only option?

A friend of mine Jonny Benjamin who is a Mental Health Campaigner, Author and Vlogger; made an incredible Documentary about his experience with suicide and mental illness.

The Documentary follows Jonny as he searches for ‘Mike’ a random member of the public who saved his life that early morning in 2008.

Jonny who suffers from Schizophrenia, was loitering around the edge of Waterloo Bridge in a very bad way. Totally ignored by the tyrant of people hastily trying to get to work in morning rush hour. One man stopped. This man was ‘Mike’ aka Neil Layborn. He convinced Jonny to step away from the edge. Thankfully Jonny listened!

He didn’t know who this kind stranger was, so he named him ‘Mike’ and set up a Campaign called ‘Find Mike’. This was a nationwide search to find the Samaritan who saved his life that morning.

You can watch the full documentary here:

Stranger on the Bridge – Jonny Benjamin

Jonny, like myself, believes in challenging stubborn stigmas surrounding mental illness. Unfortunately there are some people who cannot seem to pull themselves out of the dark ages. They believe mental illness is only for the ‘weak’, when actually it takes a monumental amount of strength to carry on when your brain is trying to destroy you, every….single….day!

Some also believe ‘Suicide is selfish’. I’m sorry but this angers me! Its short sighted, simplistic thinking and just plain ignorant! Yes, I feel sorry for the person who has to find the body, but I also feel sorry for the person who was in so much pain that they believed the only way to make it stop was to die!

Advice for people contemplating suicide:

  • The mind is an extremely power entity. Mental illness is a disease of the thoughts. It intertwines itself with your sense of self, forcing you to believe a distorted reality. This illness wants to destroy you. You are more than just an illness.
  • Chronic thoughts circulate themselves over and over and over again. I know this is torture and can be like listening to a tap drip for years on end. But there is help out there, and maybe you have tried many therapies and it’s not worked. It’s normally to do with connection and the relationship you have with your therapist. The right one will make you see what these thoughts for what they really are…edited, biased bullsh*t versions of the truth.
  • Try and hang onto that little bit of hope that has seen you through so many times before. Hope is truth.
  • Sometimes you may not even want to die you just want your mind and pain to stop. The sick part of your mind tells you that there is no other way out. And worryingly this sick voice can disguise itself as the voice ‘trying to help you’. Anything in your mind trying to convince you to cause you harm is not on your side!
  • You’re not alone. Coming from someone who is still grieving the loss of my close family (especially my parents) I can relate to what true loneliness feels like. What kept me going was thinking about how much my Mum wanted to have me, and how heartbroken she would have been if I’d gone through with any sinister plans. I have a duty to keep the legacy of my parents alive. If your family are alive, just think about the pain you passing away would cause. Even after an argument, for example, you may feel vengeful and impulsive. There is no coming back from that decision. Is the value of your life worth that little?
  • Suicide is never a pleasant experience. I don’t think people understand how much the body fights to survive. I’ve heard of overdoses that can leave people in agony for days before they die. Or you may survive and end up with brain damage. Also a lot of people flirt with suicide without actually wanting to die, but things get out of hand and they can actually kill themselves without meaning to.
  • Build a strong support network around you. This is difficult to do, especially in cities. Which is why I attend a support group full of like minded people who understand, it’s important to find your tribe. You’re not alone, no matter how much your mind is telling you that you are.
  • Gratitude lists. In moments of immense pain your mind only focuses on the negative and catastrophises everything that is ‘wrong’ with your life unable to see anything good at all. Looking at the things you like about your life will stop you drowning in dangerous thinking. Gratitude lists can help you see things with a more balanced view.
  • If things are getting out of control call an ambulance. Your life is in danger, just like it would be if your body was hurt.
  • There’s always a solution to every problem.
  • Night time is never a good idea to make decisions about your life. Wait until the morning to see how you feel.

Helplines:

Samaritans: 116 123

Papryus: 0800 068 4141

Maytree: 020 7263 7070

I also discovered this website which I thought was really good. It’s letters from people who have experienced a range of different Mental Health issues. One of the main things to realise is that you can be helped, no matter what’s happened or how weird and painful your thoughts are; you’re not the only one in this boat facing the storm.

http://therecoveryletters.com/

There have been times when I’ve not believed things would ever change or get better, and I will be destined to continue to think in this horrible way 24/7 forever. Even worse what if these thought are true!? They’re not.

If you have survived suicide or lost someone close to you by suicide there is help for the aftermath:

http://supportaftersuicide.org.uk/

http://www.survivorsofsuicide.com/

https://uksobs.org/

Three D’s:

If you can relate to thoughts similar to the following I’d say you’ve spiralled into a dark, deceiving mood.

DOWNING: ‘Everything is hopeless. You’ll never get to where you want to be. Everyone else can do everything and you can’t because there’s something wrong with you. In fact everything you’ve tried has pretty much been a f*ck up. No one will ever understand these weird thought’s I’m having I don’t even understand them… I’m incurable and will always have to suffer’. (Sound Familiar?).

DEMANDING: ‘Look how old you are, you should be successful in your career/relationships/ personal life by now! Why haven’t you ever got the energy to do anything your so far behind everyone else you can’t even get to work/school on time! Why are you never happy you should be grateful! Why can’t you keep to anything to set out to do! You should be exercising but your too lazy!’ (Ergh go away you horrible F%4*6!rd voice).

DISASTERISING: ‘You’re going to turn up at that event and so and so is going to be there and you won’t be able to handle it! I bet he still thinks about his ex, and wonders why he is with you! I’m never going to be able to start this way of thinking! And then I’m going to have to go on benefits for the rest of my life because I’m too ill and won’t be able to hold down a job! Oh no I’m going to end up with 100 cats when I’m old… who would want me.’

And you wonder why you’ve had enough…

It’s a well known saying that ‘Confidence is quiet. Insecurities are loud.’ There’s something in you that believes things will get better, it’s the same voice that has carried you through all these years. This voice is to be trusted, no matter how small and quiet it is at the moment… it’s your strength.

 

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Let your faith by bigger than your fear. And be kind to yourself. You’ve been through enough.

Get help. Don’t always trust what your mind is trying to get you to believe. Don’t become another statistic. You’re not alone.

Take care of your beautiful, unique self.

Warmest Regards

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