Paul W. Smith: The heartbreak of suicide

Paul W. Smith

“Outta’ My Mind on a Monday Moanin’”

The sad, shocking and unfortunate suicides of 55-year-old iconic fashion designer Kate Spade and 61-year-old chef, author and television personality Anthony Bourdain have renewed the uncomfortable conversation regarding mental health and the unacceptable stigma still attached to any mental illness. 

Chef Anthony Bourdain

Once again, we see individuals who seem to “have it all” ending their seemingly fabulous lives prematurely. Obviously success, fame, wealth and all the trappings that many work for and yearn for can’t buy youhappiness, especially if you are ill and your mind is working overtime preventing you from seeing all the good and positive things in your life. 

Life becomes impossible, with no light at the end of the tunnel and you don’t realize what ending your life will do to loved ones left behind. They are forever left wondering what they could have or should have done to keep you from harming yourself. 

This is a teachable moment.

Unfortunately, it is a copycat moment for others with depression, anxiety and other mental illness, as we have learned that suicides increased immediately after a tortured Robin Williams killed himself.

For many of us, we couldn’t help but think about our old friend Heinz Prechter, who, unknown to most, kept his bipolar disorder well hidden until his unfortunate suicide in 2001.

That sunroof in your car, bringing you great happiness on a regular basis, came to America thanks to Heinz. And just like the color and style Spade brought to millions with her creations and Bourdain brought to “Parts Unknown” broadcast into our homes every week, none of these beloved individuals could find the joy for themselves that they brought to so many.

If you need help, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline now: 1 (800) 273-8255. 

Paul W. Smith is host of The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR-AM (760) from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.