Just as things were getting all warm, sunny, and bright, we got a brutal dose of reality this week. We lost two wonderful visionaries, two people that I’ve looked up to, two lives I’ve envied. Their lives are no more or less important than a stranger I pass on the sidewalk, just much more public. All life is so very precious. But, for whatever reason, when thousands of people are remembering and mourning together, loss seems that much more amplified.
I’m not here to argue over the things that make me sad or how I mourn (I’m looking at you, Facebook, with all your, “You’re a shit person to mourn a celebrity when your closest coworker may be depressed,” and, “What kind of idiot says ‘I’m here to listen if you ever need it’ to someone they hardly know?”) And for the record, I’m well aware that some (probably larger than you’d think) percentage of the people I love and interact with on a daily basis battle demons. And YEAH, I am an idiot who will lend an ear if you need it. But, whatever. Not the time or place.
What I am here to say is that much like cancer, mental illness absolutely doesn’t discriminate. We’ve just seen two gleaming examples of that. The founder of a brand whose reputation is based on inspirational narrative and wildly bright colors. A man who spent his life traveling all over the world to make friends while preparing and eating the most decadent foods. Both admired by thousands. Mental. Illness. Does. Not. Discriminate.
It all really does just bring me right back down to earth. It reminds me to watch my words and actions. It reminds me not to put off the phone call with the friend hundreds of miles away. It reminds me to let people know what they mean to me. Let people know that their successes are wonderful. Let them know that their failures don’t define them. And yes, let them know that they are loved and I am here for them.
If you can relate, find an outlet. This blog is a great one for me. I also have a wonderful support system of friends and family that I can reach out to when the going gets tough. Not everyone feels like they have that luxury. Some (and this happens to me on occasion) feel silenced by their fears.
So what can we do? As friends, parents, siblings? Reach out our loved ones, not only in bad times, but in good too. Be engaged when people are telling you what’s going on in their lives. Invest in the details. Give love. Be kind.
We live in a weird time where we’re so very immersed in all kinds of bad news. Fortunately, there’s good news too. We are all loved. If you or someone you know suffers from feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide, reach out. Contact the suicide prevention line (1-800-273-8255). Let someone know you’re struggling. Don’t lose hope. There may be dark days, but brighter ones lie ahead.
Join me this week in setting aside our negativity to spread some joy in a world that desperately needs it.
xoxo Leigh Ann