Masking Mental Illness

Fashion Designer, Kate Spade dead at 55…        

The apparent suicide of fashion maven Kate Spade has taken the fashion industry by surprise. While thousands try to figure out how a wealthy, influential woman with such a colorful life died such a dark death, I find myself pondering the question, why didn’t anyone notice she was sinking.

I am left to assume that Kate, like many women with mental illness (diagnosed or not), learned to mask her pain. There is a shame and stigma that comes with mental illness that causes its sufferers to retreat and hide in the dark spaces of their own mind.

It’s sad, because if we would simply learn to embrace one another as women and open up during our darkest hours, many of us would feel free to surrender and ask for help.

Kate’s death had an unexpected impact on me. When my girlfriend texted me the news, I was stunned. I immediately wanted to know her story. Was she married or dating? Did she have children? Who was Kate Spade and what drove her to that place of no return? I found myself mourning a woman I never knew.


I have tussled back and forth with my own mental well-being for years, more in the last few months than ever before. I have battled anxiety most of my life. I’ve learned to live with it and function successfully without medication or therapy. But at what cost?

Masking Mental Illness is dangerous and can easily end in destruction. I am fortunate because my condition is not considered severe and can be managed through therapy and some major lifestyle changes. Kate’s death was confirmation that I need to unapologetically begin the process of removing people and situations from my life that cause me stress and anxiety. As my dear girlfriend suggested, I need to reintroduce myself as the person I WANT and NEED to be. It is up to me to train people how to treat me by showing them what level of respect is required to interact with me and what personal boundaries must be adhered to be in my life.

The process of healing seems overwhelming and the thought of embarking on such a journey cause my anxiety to flare, LOL. But at the same time I feel myself exhaling.

Step 1: Yell it from the roof top. The people who love you will come running.

Step 2: Research and find a great therapist. (Referrals Welcome)

Step 3: Open up to the possibilities and Live Out Loud, Unapologetically.