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The winter months can be hard for people who struggle with depression and other mental illness. The holidays are stressful, the cold weather forces us to stay indoors, the snowy skies are gray and relentless, and it can seem like there’s no end in sight.
Andrew Spade, husband of late fashion designer Kate Spade, seemed to consider that when sending an Instagram message on Christmas Eve.
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Dear Katy, this tree is for you. Bea and are planting it outside of our big window to keep your magical spirit and energy close to us everyday. It will bless our new home in California and radiate your essence 365 days a year. You were illumines and we feel your presence wherever we go. I want to thank you for all of the wonderful gifts you gave me over the years. For your beauty, intelligence and grace under pressure. For your boundless generosity, unflappable honesty and kindness to all living things. For your strength, courage and conviction to your ideals. For your belief in me and so many others. For your infectious laughter and sharp wit. There was never a dull moment with you. Through the peaks and valleys and alleyways we serpentined through together you were always there. We grew up together, helped raise one another yet vowed to retain our innocence as best we could. You taught me that modesty is always the best policy, to see the good in everyone and to stand up for the crazy and less fortunate. You hated hype and loved the humble. You called me out on my bullshit yet were nonjudgmental. You talked straight and let me know when I was was being cynical or sarcastic. You were my best friend, my confidant, my partner in life, business and mischief. The ying to my yang and the zig to my zag. We played ping pong with ideas. Our shared passion for The Golden Rule, Kipling’s “If”, Strunk and White, Atticus Finch and millions other things bound us together like superglue. You were and still are my Superwoman. I hope you know how many people you inspired through the example you set in the way you lived and the work you created. You were and still are my favorite poem. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all you have given me and so many others. May your bright, multicolored spirit shine down on us everyday. Heaven is lucky to have you but please know you are truly missed by us still here on earth. Love, Andy
It’s a happy time of year for many, but when you’re mourning a loss – recent or not – the holidays can be more of a struggle.
Kate, who had battled depression and struggled to overcome her perfectionist nature, took her own life on June 5, 2018. December 24 was her birthday; she would have been 57.
Andrew Spade posted an image of the couple’s daughter together, along with a message to be kind to one another and to be aware of friends struggling with “private problems.”
“Some of us are too embarrassed or prideful to admit we have flaws.
Please don’t hide from them.
There is no shame in having flaws.
I have many.
As do some of my best friends, mentors, and idols.
We should take pride in admitting our humanity.
Perfection isn’t the goal – honesty is.”
His wife Kate was highly successful, widely admired, and seemed to have it all. In private, though, she struggled with manic depression that went untreated because she feared it would “tarnish” her name or her brand.
She chose her “happy-go-lucky” brand over her mental health, worrying what people would say or how they might react, and in the end, it cost her her life.
Middle-aged women are at a higher risk for suicide, and research shows a connection between perfectionist personalities and suicidal ideation.
Andrew Spade hopes that by continuing to speak out about his wife’s untimely death, others might check in on friends and family who seem to have it all together. And that those who worry more about their image and their health might get help instead of stiffening their upper lip.
“Please see help if you are feeling helpless or lost.
Ask friends and relatives if they are okay.
This is truly important.
Sometimes they won’t tell you how they are feeling but nudge them to find out.”
Check in on your friends. Check in on yourself.
If you see something, please don’t be afraid to say something – there are people everywhere who are waiting to see you tomorrow.
If you struggle with suicidal thoughts or depression, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.