“More than once, data have shown that widely-reported celebrity deaths have a negative impact on the entire population. It seems that the more media coverage that surrounds this type of tragedy, the more we’re affected by it – sometimes in the worst way possible” (Dowell, 2018). Studies have shown an increase in suicide after heavy media attention of a celebrity suicide (Dowell, 2018). Here’s a published study that proves this statement.
Yesterday, my timeline was flooded with the heartbreaking news of Fashion Designer, Kate Spade. Sources stated she committed suicide by hanging herself with a scarf. The reason for this death is still unknown and some sources have even mentioned foul play. Despite the reasons why she took her own life, it was difficult to read. The life of one gifted fashion designer is no longer amongst us. My condolences are with her family, friends, and the Kate Spade staff.
Suicide has taken the lives of many other celebrities as well. Remember Robin Williams? His death shook the world, especially since he was one of the most prolific comedians in the world. However, even his gift couldn’t make him laugh away the realities of his declining cognitive functions due to early signs of dementia, which created secondary mental battles of anxiety, paranoia, and depression (Dowell, 2018). Williams took his life, also by hanging himself. Personally, that one hit me hard.
"...gifted doesn't mean exempt from real life issues."
I think it’s difficult for the world to learn of celebrity deaths. I think because somehow in the back of our minds we think these people are somewhat invincible. Maybe we think they are only supposed to entertain us and not live real lives when the runway show is over or when the director says “Cut!” However, celebrity deaths remind us that they are people too. Their gifts may have created opportunities, made them millions of dollars, and have even created jobs for others, but gifted doesn’t mean exempt from real life issues.
Some of the most gifted and talented people often struggle with managing their own lives. They live in a completely different world. Privacy is immediately stripped away from them and the cameras are always on. We know that anything they do will soon be plastered all over social media and major news outlets.
When I see things like this it creates deep sadness for me, that’s why I don’t always repost what I see. However, it does make me think of how I could use my gifts better to put a dint in the world to make a difference. Though I may not be in the limelight and sometimes I may not even feel like I’m making a real difference, what’s most important is that I know I have a responsibility to do something. That’s why I have chosen to blog about this today. If I can shed light, peace, and extend hope to someone by expanding their knowledge and understanding in these types of situations, that is what eases my pain.
"Sometimes we don’t have the words to articulate how we feel either so we remain silent."
As we continue to be exposed to real life issues that are being publicized by main stream media because of a person’s celebrity status, I am reminded there are the non-celebrity status people who struggle with major inner and external challenges daily as well. Whether famous or an average Joe, I call it the unspeakable death. I don’t mean unspeakable as in awful, although it is. I’m talking about there is something within all of us that we have to face every day that may keep us silent. We don’t want to speak on it. Sometimes we don’t have the words to articulate how we feel either so we remain silent. This is understandable. I’ve been there before. We don’t want to speak of it either because frankly, we don’t know how.
For some, this silence is articulated in many forms. First, depression. For weeks at a time, hopelessness, a lack of interest in things you once loved is present, crying all the time, or just getting out of the bed is not an option anymore. Instead of being vocal about it, this behavior has become the speaker. Then, there are those who may struggle with feeling accepted. Some may battle with that inner decision of whether or not they should compromise their own values just to fit in. Then, there are the celebrities who have to perform or speak to millions but feel completely empty on the inside.
"Connect with the struggling person first."
No matter what the issue is, something is not connecting inwardly and this is creating more and more isolation. Trust me when I say, Jesus can fix anything, but I’m not even going to get super spiritual with you today. Sometimes if a person is not discerning, talking about God to some people in crisis situations will cause more harm than help them. It can come across insensitive. We must exercise wisdom and discernment always when people are really going through sensitive situations. Connect with the struggling person first. Meet them where they are. It communicates you care. If God leads you to open up and talk about spiritual things, by all means do it. In either case, sensitivity and discernment is key.
Suicidal people feel disconnected from the world and from themselves. They may feel misunderstood and judged. We all need to feel connected and belonged. It creates safety. What and who we are connected is like the veins within our body. Just like the blood uses veins as a conduit to send life throughout the body, so is the importance of connection and attachment.
John Bowlby coined the attachment theory as he studied childhood development. This concept means “the ability for an individual to form an emotional and physical “attachment” to another person gives a sense of stability and security necessary to take risks, branch out, and grow and develop as a personality” (Psychologist World, 2018). If we don’t experience a healthy attachment early on in life, it can create many problems such as insecurity, lack of self-confidence, lack of trust, interpersonal and relationship challenges, and emotional issues.
"...this sense of belonging and soul/spiritual attachment is necessary and life sustaining."
I’m not at all in the position to judge or diagnose Kate Spade or Robin William’s life or even explore their childhood to see if there were unhealthy attachments that could have contributed to their suicide but what I am saying whether an “average Joe” or the rich and famous, we all need to be connected and attached. Research has proven time and time again this sense of belonging and soul/spiritual attachment is necessary and life sustaining.
For that reason, it’s time for us to take a hard introspection within. We must not ignore the inner cries in our own lives for the sake of gaining more of this world in riches, possessions, promotions or etc. just to remain relevant or popular. Whatever is keeping us detached from our own real life issues or whatever is distracting us from facing our real world will continue to be a contributing factor to a sustained unhealthy life if we’re not careful.
We must speak up for the things that’s keeping us bound. We must no longer ignore or silence the realities of our physical ailments, psychological woes, or emotional challenges any longer. That is why transparency is so powerful. It releases you from a secret place. As the quote says, “you can’t heal what you hide.” The power in transparency is authenticity. It’s connecting with the truth, your truth, and it is truth that sets us free!
"...the importance of self-care."
Lately, God has been really showing me the importance of self-care. I preach about it all the time, but the older I get I realize just how crucial it is to my very existence. There’s so much value in unplugging, devotion, and meditation. I used to view it as a chore or as if I was doing a God a favor by being obedient to these daily breaks. I thought my work-horse mentality would help me to achieve all of my dreams and goals. Though work ethic is important, those breaks are just as crucial.
When I started to see that God was only trying to pour into me so I could be better for myself, family, friends and the world my life shifted tremendously! For me, unplugging helps me to rejuvenate and connect to my real world. It means paying attention to my emotions, mental state, my body, my family, my friends, my purpose, and most of all my God. Unplugging is the blood in the veins. It is what helps me produce my truthful life.
Had I not come to this realization, those unspeakable things would have led me to my own demise. It may not have looked like suicide, but I could have been on the brink of putting my purpose and health on death row. Slowly, those unmanaged or unresolved inner struggles would have eaten away at me that would have eventually took me out of this world. Don’t let this happen to you. Today, I want you to think critically and define self-care for you. It will be different for everyone.
"...someone’s death is always a wakeup call for us..."
I’ve discovered that someone’s death is always a wakeup call for us because we are forced to think about the inevitable, our own death. We think we have forever, but it’s a reminder that we do not. Death is final. That may sound elementary but until it’s happened to you with someone close to you, you will begin to understand the simplest terms in a much more profound way.
Today, if you’re contemplating suicide I want to encourage you to SPEAK up. No matter your status, no matter what you have or don’t have, speak up about what you need. If finding it hard to trust someone is a real issue, then seek out someone professionally. It’s time to connect. It’s time to give yourself permission to learn how to attach to the right things and people in your life. It’s time to learn how to connect with you and love you. This can lead you to become more open to a God who truly cares for you because He truly does. You’re not in this alone. There are people out there that can help you. My only request for you today is found in two words…try again.
"Don’t die today. DO today… by bringing your voice to LIFE."
If you’re seeking professional help from a counselor just know we are trained to help you process those unspeakable things…those silent killers. My heart and passion as a counselor is to give people a voice. I want them to understand their struggles are real but no matter the struggle, in the same breath I want to help individuals embrace that hope is just as real. I know I can speak for every professional counselor out there who is also passionate about what I’m passionate about: your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Connect with someone today. Don’t die today. DO today… by bringing your voice to LIFE. Your life truly does depend on it…
Extending my loving arms to you today,
Dr. Estrelita Bruce “Dr. E”
To My Hope Carriers:
If you are carrying hope within you today, I want to challenge you to extend hope to someone. Don’t ignore the sadness in someone’s voice, on their face, or in their body language. Remember, some things are difficult to articulate but if we can just pay more attention to those around us no matter who they are, we can probably prevent someone from attempting or committing suicide. Ask them how they’re REALLY doing. Listen to their heart. Be sensitive to their issues and needs. Exercise discernment. Your hope and connection to them can stop the suicidal ideation in their tracks.
Make this your everyday mantra: Connect -> Extend Hope -> Save a Life
Need immediate help. Visit the Suicide Prevention Life Line or Call 1.800.273.8255
Need to schedule a virtual session with Dr. E? Click here.
Need to find a counselor in your city? Click here: Psychology Today
Dowell, M. (2018). The tragic reason robin Williams death was even worse than anyone realized. Retrieved from Identity https://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/tragic-reason-robin-williams-death-even-worse-anyone-realized.html/?a=viewall
Psychologist World, (2018). Attachment theory. Retrieved from https://www.psychologistworld.com/developmental/attachment-theory