What Kate Spade’s Death Means to Me as a Suicide Attempt Survivor

Kate Spade, the successful fashion designer, died by suicide on June 5, 2018. She is survived by her husband and her 13-year-old daughter.

I am a suicide attempt survivor, having most recently attempted in June of 2017. I wanted to speak out and voice what some of the members of the Mighty community might be feeling during this difficult time.

My day on the morning the news broke was just like any other day dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I had nightmares the previous night, but I was determined to make June 5, 2018 a good day. I had been feeling down as the one year anniversary of my attempt approached, but I had been feeling stronger and more optimistic about it. I just completed an intensive mental health outpatient program for suicidal ideation and I thought I was doing really well in spite of my upcoming anniversary. Then, I look up the news on my computer and I read the headline “Kate Spade is Dead of Apparent Suicide.”

At first I felt numb, shocked and saddened by the whole thing. I thought: “This is the first time I am hearing about a woman who has died by suicide who was successful.” According to the CBS This Morning Report, Kate Spade battled mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. I battle mental illness too, more specifically PTSD. Kate Spade is a woman and I am a woman. Kate Spade is a woman of great financial and occupational success. I aspire to be a woman who is financially and occupationally successful. I see so much of myself in Kate Spade, and her suicide affected me deeply. I am in a state of disbelief.

I also know, however, that I am different from Kate Spade and that my life does not have to end like hers did. I am getting ongoing therapy for my mental health issues, going to my psychiatrist appointments and taking my medications regularly. I am tempted to go back to the place where I was a year ago, but I must fight to survive and keep living. I made a promise in my last article to not attempt suicide anymore — and that is a promise I intend to keep. You and I are fighters my fellow Mighty readers and contributors. It is during times like these that we must raise our voices for suicide prevention and mental health.

My hope is that Kate Spade’s death will open up a dialogue about mental health and suicide. My hope is that in Kate Spade’s death we will all check in on each other a little more often and be there for one another during these difficult times. It is up to all of us in the Mighty community to create change.

Please, my fellow members of the Mighty Community, if Kate Spade’s death triggered you like it did me — please seek help. Please remember that you are strong, you are brave, and you are not alone!

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