I’d been quietly working on some new music at my piano when I got he news that Anthony Bourdain had died. Not only did he die fairly young, but he died by taking his own life.
Like many of us, I was shocked and saddened by this. Just as we were when Kate Spade and Robin Williams took their own life. How could this be? Anthony, like the others seemed to have it all and living a dream life that most people would love to live. Who saw this coming?
Sadly, that’s the thing about mood disorders and anxiety disorders. You don’t always see it coming.
Some people have a genetic predisposition for it, sometimes lying dormant until something triggers it. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, how much money you have, how much fame you have. Even the most mentally tough individuals, soldiers/special forces guys have taken their own life.
I’m speaking from a place of experience with mental health. I spent nearly a decade working as a psychiatric music therapist (MT-BC) on a multidiscplinary team of doctors, nurses, psychologists, and I saw it all. Major depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addictions, etc. We saw very sick patients for crisis management/stabilization. I also spent almost 7 years working in academic psychiatry. Hearing about and learning of the work of neuroscientists and researchers who study the biological underpinnings of these disorders.
I thought I knew exactly what depression and anxiety was until I experienced it first hand.
For me it was triggered by major life changes/events. It didn’t come right away, but when it did it came with a vengeance. Extremely depressed, extremely anxious, hopeless, helpless, a pit of despair so dark and deep I couldn’t see a way out. It doesn’t seem to make any sense.
And for some it’s not that they want to die, but rather escape/end the intense psychological pain and suffering that they have to do endure. Imagine the worst physical pain you can imagine and wanting to die just so it ends. As illogical as it is to many, to a depressed and anxious individual it makes perfect sense. So as sad as it was to hear about his passing, I get it. From both a professional and personal level/experience.
I fought and still fight sometimes. Some days are more of a struggle than others. I sought treatment for my depression and anxiety years ago. I was on medication for almost 5 years before I titrated off. Every once in a while I go in and talk about things. Sort of like taking your car in for a tune up or maintenance. It’s good to have the objective third party to bounce your thoughts off of and to process things. Certainly healthier than holding them in or turning to drugs/alcohol. Fortunately for me I also have my art to channel stuff.
If you’re suffering, you’re not alone. Please reach out for help/treatment