The Heartbreak of Suicide – What Can We Do?
Each day last week,122 people in the United States took their lives by suicide. We want to talk about Kate Spade … and you. And how the heartbreak of suicide is stealing our loved ones. And what we can do to change that.
By now, most of us have read that Kate Spade died by suicide this past week. This is too important to ignore as if it’s just another news story. Yes, Kate Spade was an icon and many have cherished her distinctive purses, bags, and wallets.
But this isn’t about her products. This is about her.
And others who suffer like she did.
Quietly. In silence… and despair.
All sorts of reports have swept through the news without sensitivity to Kate Spade and her family. A note published publicly by her husband expressed his horror that a note allegedly by Kate to her daughter was published by sensationalistic news media without his consent.
Traditional Depression Treatment Fails Sometimes…Then What?
The bottom line is that when suffering from a psychiatric disorder ends in death by suicide, the public considers that death the business of mankind in general… regardless of the suffering of the family.
It turns out, Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for the last six years before her death. She was engaged in intense psychiatric care regularly. But she wasn’t getting better.
Her family and close friends wanted to help, tried to help, but she probably reached the point that just talking about her struggles wasn’t changing anything… maybe she laughed it off when her best friend expressed concern. Maybe she looked fine. Sounded fine.
Psychiatric Disorders Can Be Hard on Relationships
She and her husband lived in separate apartments the last 10 months, but near each other so their daughter could easily go back and forth between them. The three of them continued to share meals, and vacations.
Kate and her husband Andy had been together for 35 years and the love between them was strong… enduring. But Andy says now they just needed a break to work out their problems…divorce was never considered.
The longer depression goes untreated, the more likely it seems that phobias, panic attacks, and other forms of anxiety can emerge that can leave you feeling unable to function in your life like you used to.
People like to speculate. They’ll tell you maybe it’s not depression. Maybe it’s bipolar disorder.
Kate’s husband has been adamant that she suffered from depression and anxiety for the last six years, and that she’d been in psychiatric treatment for the last five.
And that’s the tragedy.
When you know you’re suffering from a psychiatric disorder, and your doctor provides the best treatment he knows to offer, what if it doesn’t help?
What do you do?
The Heartbreak of Suicide
For decades, this has been the situation with up to 50% of patients suffering with depression. They take medications year in and year out. But they don’t work…or maybe they don’t work well enough. So they try to keep going through their routine until they just can’t anymore. At some point they occasionally mention death… or dying…or funerals…
And they try and try to buck up, keep enduring…until they just can’t anymore.
And someone finds them, after it’s too late to help.
For all of our lifetime, when medications and therapy didn’t make a real difference for a suffering person, doctors have sometimes just said, “I’ve done all I know to do.” It sounds so horrible. Like that’s it. There’s nothing else.
Others suggest trying yet another and another new medication or therapy. When hope just keeps being deferred indefinitely…well, we get heartsick…and can give up.
There’s Hope That Rises Above Traditional Treatment
But here’s the tragedy for Kate Spade, and others like her.
We’ve never had ketamine treatment before the last several years. But we have it now. She suffered for 6 years without relief.
What about you? Untreated depression and anxiety can slowly erode your relationships, your confidence, and your hope.
She had made a fortune with her Kate Spade brand in partnership with her husband over the years. So she didn’t miss her chance for effective treatment because of cost. She had the resources to pay for the best treatment.
We see people like her all the time here at Innovative Psychiatry. People at the top of their game who suffer from an array of psychiatric disorders … and need treatment so they can continue contributing to their world, engaging with their families, enjoying their lives.
We can wish Kate had known about ketamine treatment. We can wish her life had been restored, her relationships with family and friends strengthened because she had the energy to invest in and build them again. Because she no longer feared that openness would harm her brand.
But for Kate Spade, sadly it’s too late for that.
Still, stop and think.
So Many Suffer in Silence Until They Can’t Stand It Another Day
How many people across the US died by suicide last week…? 122 each day. One of them happened Friday, when beloved celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain also died this way. How many more…?
We have to ask how many of those deaths could have been prevented if everyone knew about ketamine’s effective treatment that takes the pain away?
How many people in our world still don’t know that treatment actually IS available that can give them their lives back…restore their joy, their motivation, their well-being? That can stop suicidal thinking. Quickly.
We can work together to share this reality with everyone we know so no one else has to die without hope.
We must work together to help people who suffer like Kate suffered find help. And hope. We must talk about psychiatric symptoms without shame. As freely as we talk about back pain, migraines, cancer.
If a friend talks about death…about dying…even off the cuff…even laughing about it…
What do you think?
Oh, weird… wonder why she’s talking about this right now…embarrassing…
I hope not.
But the stigma is right there. Along with shame.
What if I’m overreacting..?
Overreacting to a possible call for help is not life-threatening….but ignoring the situation just may be.
You can reach out. You can confide in your friend about something you’ve been through that was embarrassing. Lower the wall. You can ask if there’s anything you can do. You can share things you’ve read, like this blog for instance.
Brain and Behavior Institute published this statement by Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein on Friday:
“If you are concerned about a loved one, you should express your concern. Some people have the misconception that asking a person about suicide will increase the risk, but in reality asking does not increase the risk of suicide, but can save a life.”
And you can provide your friend with the Suicide Hotline and encourage her to call you or call this number if she ever feels serious about it:
Ketamine treatment can stop suicidal thinking in 4 hours or less. Tell your friends and loved ones.
Ketamine Treatment Ends Suicidal Thinking in 4 Hours or Less!
The heartbreak of suicide can be prevented.
It’s true that ketamine treatment isn’t for everyone…but it’s effective for most, and even some of those who seem to not respond at first have a delayed response…and are living their lives with joy several months later. Ketamine is so remarkable, it deserves a chance to show you what it can do.
And you deserve the chance to experience the rapid and robust action of ketamine in your brain, relieving your symptoms.
If you suffer from a psychiatric disorder, or if you know someone who does, read the articles linked to this one and inform yourself. It’s no longer necessary to suffer under the burden of a seemingly untreatable disorder.
At Innovative Psychiatry, we offer a variety of novel, advanced options to reach the source of your disorder and help you get better. We’re not interested in treatment that just takes the edge off…
When you’re in pain, you’re in pain. A little reduction in symptoms really doesn’t help that much. You need to feel good. You need to feel well.
Please call us. Let us help you get better.
May the husband and daughter of Kate Spade, as well as her family and friends, be comforted and find peace. Our hearts weep for you.
And if you find your thoughts filled with images of death and dying…call us. We can help lift this terrible burden from you to help you rebuild a happier, more fulfilling life.
To the healing and restoration of your best self,
Lori Calabrese, MD