A few days ago came the shocking news that Kate Spade, the woman whose fashion empire was named after her (and whom my wife and daughters love her products) had committed suicide.
Mrs. Spade was 56 years old and the news was incredibly shocking for many reasons. First and foremost: Her fashion line and Kate Spade stores were popular and I’m certain she was, at least financially, comfortable, yet soon after this shocking news her husband noted she had dealt with both depression and anxiety.
Today I wake up to the equally shocking news that Anthony Bourdain, noted chef and host of a popular travel/food show Parts Unknown, was found dead from suicide in France. (You can read the CNN article concerning this news here)
Though I never watched a single episode of Mr. Bourdain’s show, I was familiar with him and his sometimes unvarnished comments regarding, among other things, Harvey Weinstein. Mr. Bourdain, at least the last time I read, was the boyfriend of Asia Argento, one of the women who claimed Mr. Weinstein raped her.
Clearly, Mr. Bourdain had his demons just as Mrs. Spade and the fact that they took their own lives speaks to one of the great tragedies regarding suicide: Depression, anxiety, etc. can strike anyone, young and old, successful or poor.
I’ve faced it and, frankly, was once very much in danger because of it. In my case, it involved a physical condition that didn’t allow me to sleep full nights. Basically, in my mid 30’s or so I had a very strong nasal infection that, once it was over, I found that when I lay down to sleep I could only sleep for 3-4 hours before an incredible pressure would build in my right nostril to the point where the pain and inability to breathe would wake me up.
The pressure was so bad I was forced to get out of bed and walk around until the pressure went away, usually an hour later, then and only then could I get back to bed and, again, I would sleep only 3-4 hours before it would again hit me. Mind you, this wasn’t something that happened once in a while. This happened each and EVERY night.
Worse, I developed an incredible sensitivity to dust and cigarette smoke. Frequently I’d feel such a terrible pressure in my sinus that it would give me terrible migraine headaches. Headaches that would have me on the floor in the bathroom throwing up into the toilet or lying in bed completely unable to do anything.
I went to an Ear/Nose/Throat Specialist and he told me I had a deviated septum. I had that operated on and, once healed, I was good but only for a few months. Then, the symptoms came back just as before.
I returned to the Specialist and he re-examined me and said maybe I was suffering from an allergy. For one year I then went to an allergist getting injections but…nothing resulted from them.
After five or so years of suffering and, quite literally, not having a single comfortable full night of sleep, I went to another Ear/Nose/Throat specialist and that individual (I’m trying hard to be polite) said that “This happens when you get older”. He nonetheless said if I cauterize some veins in the nose I might get a bit of relief.
Desperate, I went through the second operation. Like the first, there was relief after I recovered for a few months but then everything came back as before.
Five or so more years passed, now I endured some 10 years of living without being able to sleep a full night and enduring incredibly debilitating migraines.
I was constantly tired, depressed, and increasingly weak.
One day I went to my regular doctor and talked to him about my situation and he said: “Did any of the Doctors you saw before about this mentioned your turbinate?”
He recommended another doctor and I went to him and this doctor, whom I didn’t mention anything but my symptoms to, looked in my nose and said: “Your right turbinate is eight times larger than it should be.”
Essentially, I had something in my nose that was eight times the size it should be and, when irritated, would inflame to even larger size and this pressure, like a baseball inside my head and under my eye, was the cause of 10 years of suffering.
I got a third operation and this one ended my ten years of suffering.
Each time I went to a Doctor, I was desperate. Yet two of the Doctors, supposed specialists in their fields, clearly didn’t see what they should have.
And ten years or so of my life were spent suffering when I didn’t have to and, yes, even considering suicide. The pain and discomfort were that freaking bad.
Don’t let things get this bad for you. If you or a family member is dealing with depression or anxiety, you NEED to call or have them call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
The number is: 1-800-273-TALK, ie 1-800-273-8255.