Over the summer of 2018, the suicides of two celebrities — the fashion designer Kate Spade, and then the chef Anthony Bourdain — stunned the world.
Their deaths prompted a global outpouring of emotion with great depth. Ms. Spade’s fans recounted how her bright handbags were their first adult big-ticket purchase. And our TV critic wrote that Mr. Bourdain’s exploration of cuisine and culture brought new and fascinating perspectives into ordinary homes.
Beyond their sudden and grievous deaths is a even more insidious matter: their deaths came as new federal data was released showing a rise in suicides in nearly every state in the USA. Millions of people across the country are grappling with suicidal thoughts or are struggling with lack of knowledge about how to help a loved one who is depressed.
While we cannot know all that led to these two brilliant creative people deciding to commit suicide, we can know that they lived silently with pain that became unbearable. They kept that pain to themselves.
The Suicide of a Friend
A few years ago while living in Copenhagen, I learned of the suicide of a friend back in California. Several months later, I had a visit from his husband, who told me that my friend suffered from depression for a few years. Yet whenever we would talk on the telephone or email. he never shared his pain with me. Apparently he would do well during the days but then cry all night. One of those nights, he hung himself from the shower curtain bar, which is, tragically, where his husband found him. If he had said he was ready to kills himself, he could likely have received help, but he did not. I know my conversations with him would have been different had I known he was suicidal.
Speak the Pain
My point here is to say that we need to communicate to others when we are suffering this deeply. We need to say the words “I feel that killing myself is the only way to end my pain” or something like it. Not pretend to be happy. Not pretend we have it all together.
Kate Spade, a woman in midlife, appeared to have it all and she gave so much to the global community. Her designs impacted adolescent girls, young adult women and adult women. She transformed and enhanced our style, our confidence and our inner sense of beauty. Spade was important. Spade was collectively respected and beloved. But not speaking the pain of her life left her feeling unloved, embattled and overwhelmed.
Do not do this to yourself. If you are a female founder you are facing great challenges. If you are a woman of color who is a business owner, you live at an intersection of life that is fraught with blocks, hindrances, lack of assistance, disrespect and invisibility.
The Loneliness of the Female Founder
Find a friend and start talking, every day. about your real life. Get a coach. Women come to me as clients to get not only the creative and business coaching but to have a listening ear about their real lives as they strive for success or do what it takes to remain at their level and move to the next one.
Being a female founder or career woman is a lonely space. So many are raising children, caring for partners/spouses and running their business, trying to be successful in their career or simply keep their job. Add a side hustle to that and it is all overwhelming. Self-care, especially emotional and psychological wellness gets neglected. As a woman of color, I know this overwhelming space. Since I began as an entrepreneur, I have taken time to share my life with a small inner circle and to practice self-care on a daily basis. I take care of my spirit, physical body and mental health.
Midlife (37-60) is also a life stage that hits women particularly hard. Being an entrepreneur or business owner (full-tie or part-time) and
Your Spiritual Life
Everyone one of us is a spiritual being in a physical body. We are what is inside, not outside. When we keep our spirit plump and juicy through meditation, prayer, time alone, time with those on a similar path, in reflection, time out in nature, reading a book that feeds us etc, we heal our wounds and build our resilience. Your spiritual life should be so juicy that you naturally shine outward from inside. I put my spiritual life first so I can be at my best to serve others through my business and philanthropic efforts. This is my best secret to life.
It prevents me from being lonely and it revives me when I am getting dry and withered inside. It rejuvenates me.
Are you a female founder or career woman experiencing loneliness, overwhelm and feeling off-balance trying to keep it all together? Your professional life is or will soon be negatively impacted. Let’s change that. Contact me.
To Your Greatness