The tweets regarding Kate Spade’s death are showing how much people still don’t understand mental illness. “Just goes to show you money can’t buy happiness.” “Just goes to show you money doesn’t cure heart disease.” See how silly that sounds? I’m not talking wealth disparities in treating mental illness, I’m talking viewing mental illness as a a simple mood, emotion, or case of the sads that a box of chocolates and spa day can fix.
When people discuss suicide as morally wrong behaviour, it’s obvious they don’t understand mental illness. The brain, the part of the body that chooses suicide, is malfunctioning.
Getting help for mental illness while mentally ill is difficult because the part of the body that makes such decisions is sick. It’s like asking someone with a broken leg to walk to the hospital. Not always impossible, but very hard and not a matter of moral failure.
I am religious and still understand that mental illness is a spectrum. One person being healthy enough to decide not die is a place on the spectrum. Some people have the same convictions but still die because their sickness progressed beyond rational thought.
A person with strong morals who loves their family-their spouse, their children, their parents with all their heart can die from suicide. Maybe that’s a hard pill to swallow but it happens every day.
There are people who think making suicide a moral issue and shaming those who fall victim is an effective method of prevention. WRONG. Mentally ill people already feel like crap. Shame only prevents them from speaking up and getting help which increases their risk of death.
It’s not your fault you’re sick. We want you to win this battle. We want you to stay. Tell us how we can help. Tell me how I can help. Fight with whatever you have left.
I’m obviously not a doctor, I speak only from experience in terms of what has helped me and harmed me. I don’t know anything about Kate Spade- whether she suffered from illness and how but I hope her soul is at rest and wish healing for her loved ones. I’m only talking about this because when suicide makes headlines my first thought is my mental struggling people, you’re my people. I get you.
The fight isn’t over