When someone who you do not personally know dies unexpectedly, I think a common reaction among the living is to draw any sort of parallel you can to connect yourself to them. Otherwise, it feels a bit odd grieving for a total stranger. Maybe you loved them from afar for the amazing work they created. Maybe you were listening to a wistful classic rock song about lost connections and hope for the future on repeat the night before their passing, and the song that was playing as you fell asleep makes you feel both creeped out and comforted when reflecting on it the next morning. For me, I am guilty of both.
The first thing I did this morning when I sat down with my tea and opened my Twitter account was see the horribly sad breaking news of Alexander McQueen's death. The second thing I did was weep. Multiple reputable sources are reporting that it was suicide.
There is no argument that McQueen was one of the most inventive, fearless and talented designers on this earth. His clothes were exquisitely rendered and his shows were legendary theatrical presentations, each collection distinct in voice, message, and execution. There were many times that I hovered over purchasing one of his pieces, but always held off because great art does not come cheap.
Something I want to address full on is the nature of this man's death. He was not hit by a car. He did not have a heart attack, or lose a battle to cancer. But there was a war that was being waged internally that he did not emerge intact from. He ended his own life. I do not want to gloss over this.
Depression is fucking real. Only very recently did I begin to emerge from under a horribly dark fog myself, where feelings of such utter hopelessness and worthlessness were choking the very life out of me. Some days I felt so wretched I literally could not get out of bed. I thought I was anaemic, and began self-medicating by taking iron supplements, but soon after some diagnoses from health professionals unveiled the real issues and I began treatment.
I'm telling you this not for sympathy but because I want you to know that people all around you, even the person who writes some dumb blog about shoes and Sigourney Weaver that you occasionally stumble upon, might be going through a personal hell. More importantly, if this is something that you are dealing with, you are NOT alone out there. Really. This affliction is so far reaching and so incredibly common, and actually looking it in the eye can be the beginning of a way up and out.
If you do not have the privilege of being insured, or for other reasons do not have access to therapy or doctors, consider this:
The Kristin Brooks Hope Center (http://www.hopeline.com/), a suicide prevention network where you can immediately speak to people via phone or email
The National Suicide Prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255
What I learned in therapy is that it's interesting how talking things over with a stranger can sometimes feel easier than speaking to those you are close to. That said, those who are close to you are great starts and excellence resources. I'm not going to lie, the world can seem fucking dreadful sometimes. What if someone you loved was feeling this way? You'd want them to open up to you, right? It's my belief that if one person falls down in this world, there should be two people right there to take her by the hands and pick her up. One falls down, two pick her up. Let it begin right here.