I was really saddened to hear about Anthony Bourdain’s death. It breaks my heart to hear that anyone was suffering so deeply. He of course is not someone I knew… but seemed to embody someone full of life, who explored every part of this world and the people in it, and advocated for those who did not have a platform to speak from. It is always interesting to see the array of responses after someone in the public eye takes their own life – ranging from compassion and grief to ‘who cares if a celebrity dies, what do they have to be depressed about.’ But the thing is – Anthony Bourdain is all of us. If you cannot look into the eyes of every other person on this planet and see a reflection of yourself, and a reflection of humanity at large, you are going tio need to dig a little deeper.
I also see a lot of advice around reaching out for help when you need it, which is great advice… but as someone who has dipped their toes into the waters of depression – maybe even waded waist deep in it – I know that when it has you in a chokehold, it holds every part of you hostage. Your voice, reason, logic, motivation, and ability to feel much of anything other than despair is way out of reach. Your very existence feels like a burden. You may not know how to reach out your hand for someone to help pull you out.
Instead, perhaps we can try and offer our hand – offer it to those who are struggling, but also to those who seem to have their shit together. We never know what is going on just below the surface, what pain someone may be experiencing, even when they ‘have it all.’ And then even when you offer your hand, they may just not be able to take it. I think one of the best things we can do is foster compassion for ourselves, and foster compassion and empathy for others. See yourself in everyone you encounter, sharpie your story, shine your light in your corner of the world, do what you can. Words have power; choose them wisely and with kindness. We are all in this together.