Prelude: I wrote about this on social media and it triggered a lot of people. Some of the comments got super nasty. I love discussion, but people who name call or only have venom to contribute will be blocked immediately.
I would like to say that while anti-depressant use has soared by 65% in 15 years (from 1999 to 2014), according to CBS and the CDC, suicide rates have also skyrocketed.
According to NPR, “Suicide rates have increased in nearly every state over the past two decades, and half of the states have seen suicide rates go up more than 30 percent.”
The status quo isn’t working.
It’s time to change the dialogue around emotional pain and stop medicalizing a spiritual problem.
The losses of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade wreck me.
I think as a society, when we collectively mourn celebrities, it means something bigger than the death of a person, but the shattering of an ideal that we hold to be true.
For so many of us, me included, there is a perception that celebrity, fame, reaching the pinnacle of success through the grace of your own gifts, exciting adventures, being able to do anything we want, having everything we want, create happiness.
When we mourn the loss of someone, we also mourn the loss of the fairy tale they represent.
Because we are a collective, we are not only honoring these beautiful souls that have suffered and are now dead, but those parts of us that we may have denied or shoved down in the effort to “achieve” happiness that we are now forced to examine.
When my sister killed herself 21 years ago, I mourned her yes because I loved her, and yes I felt sad for her suffering, but I also mourned the part of me that would now never exist because the dance of our interlacing lives had ended.
Our society does many things well, but creating happiness and soul satisfaction are not among them.
When will we learn that getting what you want isn’t the key to happiness if it doesn’t come from an appreciation for who you are and what you already have?
When will we learn not to run away from pain, but instead to see it as a call for love?
When will we learn that people who feel sad don’t need to be cheered up, but instead allowed to feel and honored for the experiences they’re navigating?
When will the spiritual community stop calling sadness low vibe and scaring people away from emotions that demand to be felt?
When will we stop calling sadness or “depression” an illness and create more space to feel, even lose their minds, without medicalizing a spiritual problem?
It’s not biology but human nature and the transforming of something natural into an illness only exacerbates the problem and stops people from getting the support they truly need.
We all deserve and are capable of living happy, thriving lives.
A true, deep happiness comes from loving yourself, living from your soul, and appreciating every step along the journey.
It comes from going deep within to identity and heal the wounds underneath unconscious programming that create any disposition towards sadness, anxiety, anger or fear.
It comes from connecting to something larger than you and allowing that connection to inspire an occasionally irrational faith that everything will be okay.
It comes from finding peace in the present moment, even if that moment is tear-soaked and full of self-doubt. Peace can come in those moments, too. I know it can.
Because with faith and hope all things are possible. With faith and hope, you never stop believing that tomorrow will be a better day.
With faith and hope, you never stop working to find your peace, your happiness.
We all deserve it.
Not everyone will find it.
But everyone has the ability.
I can’t help but wonder about the traps that Anthony and Kate felt themselves living in.
What was it about their lives that made them feel so suffocated and hopeless?
When my sister hung herself 21 years ago, at 21, in her NYC apartment building, I understood. She was a lost and lonely girl, her boyfriend had killed himself a few months earlier, and our father had died a year before.
But when people like Anthony and Kate take their lives, it’s a call for all of us to do a little soul searching.
To reconnect to what really matters, what’s most important to us.
To shift the focus from what we want to get, do or achieve, and move it to something deeper, more lasting.
That will be different for every person.
But one thing is universal: We all want to feel happy. And we all have that ability.
May you be at peace. May you be happy. May you be free of suffering.
Share this with those who need it.
Dr. Kelly Brogan is doing amazing work helping people understand how much power they have over their mental health, and explaining how damaging it is to limit ourselves to unsubstantiated scientific labels.
Here are two articles.
ps — If you are experiencing sadness or depression, please know this pain does not make you flawed. It’s here for a purpose, a reason. It has a message for you.
If you open your heart to yourself and begin to listen, I promise you everything will change.
Ask for help. Get support. Keep searching for the right person who helps you feel empowered, not judged or crazy. They ARE out there.
YOU have the power to heal you.
You are a magical being with infinite potential. The pain is part of the path to greater joy and purpose. It’s an invitation, and today is your time to rise.