Robin Williams, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain.
There is unfortunately a long history of those in the public eye who take their own lives.
And while we can’t know exactly what was happening inside them, there is a sad thread of mental illness prevalent in these people.
They are not just celebrities and stars and in the public eye, they are humans.
Humans, people with their own individual problems and issues and struggles.
We are all the protagonist of our own stories.
Everyone is going through something and you just can’t know what it is for everyone else.
I live every day with generalized anxiety disorder.
I know exactly how much it effects me and feel it every single day.
Yet I certainly cannot presume to know what others feel and experience.
Mental illnesses are a deeply personal, insidious, invisible disease which have the potential to take over your life.
It still feels like our society, our world, does not take mental illness seriously.
In law enforcement and the military, seeing a therapist or being on mental health medications can be a bad thing for your career — would they prefer you being mentally ill over being on medications to help you?
Our society still has a stigma attached to mental illnesses and therapy, and it is incredibly sad and wasteful.
Robin Williams. Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain.
Beloved people with amazing careers and hordes of fans and money — yet they ended their own lives.
Be a part of the solution.
If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Get therapy, talk to you doctor, talk to a trusted friend or family member, call the helpline.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Now, more than ever, it is so clear you are not alone.
You are worth so much more than you believe.
You are NOT YOUR MENTAL ILLNESS.
My anxiety is a part of me — it is not who I am.
Your mental health is as important, if not more important than your physical well-being.
I like to say that being a writer is half writing, half being a therapist. I get to listen to people’s stories and help bring them to life. It is a joy, a pleasure, and a passion.
If you need help, someone to talk to, or anything — you can reach out to me. I am happy to listen, to learn, to just be an ear or a shoulder to lean on.
You are most definitely not alone.
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America:
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
- Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
- People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
- Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
- Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
- Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Almost 75% of people with mental disorders remain untreated in developing countries with almost 1 million people taking their lives each year. In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 globally suffers from anxiety. The WHO reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide with specific phobia, major depressive disorder and social phobia being the most common anxiety disorders.
If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–8255.
You are not alone, not by a long shot. Don’t be afraid to ask for help — we ALL need help sometimes. It is NOT shameful or embarrassing, it is a part of who you are.
You cannot control the chemicals your brain produces, just as you cannot control how much you sweat or how much body hair you grow. It’s not your fault. You are NOT YOUR DISORDER. You CAN get help. You CAN get better. You CAN ask for help.