You can hear me every morning on the radio - often cracking jokes - although many fall flat. I have been told my laugh is both contagious and annoying. I am the first one to message or call a friend to cheer them up. I tell my children daily to count their blessings and not to let negative people bring them down. You can scroll through social media and see photographs of me smiling and laughing. There are shots on vacation. However, you will never see a picture of my feet in front of a pool or ocean. When did people decide it was a good idea to put hammer toes and bunions in their travel albums? I have snapshots making silly faces with my kids or celebrating their major milestones and photographs with friends on “girls night.”
I worked as a TV news reporter for a decade. I started as an associate producer which is basically a paid intern. Unlike a Kardashian, I worked my way up the old fashioned way; with hard work. I stood in front of the camera during live broadcasts maintaining my composure on air even during the most chaotic times. For the past three years I have worked in talk radio.
I have also struggled with depression most of my life. It started in college. I had random bouts of sadness. There was no logical explanation. It wasn’t something you could turn on and off. I woke up crying. A good friend suggested I see the doctor who prescribed medication that drastically improved my symptoms, but nothing can cure the illness. It is an illness. Depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. I have had dark days where I have had to force myself to get out of bed. Imagine feeling anxious, scared and tired at the same time. You want to be alone, but don't want to be lonely. The best thing I have done for myself was to get out of denial. I see a therapist regularly and am constantly working on me. I am no longer ashamed to take medication. I workout to get natural endorphins. Full disclosure: I also exercise so I don’t end up on a reality show on TLC. I’m not wealthy, but I have a nice house and car. My children are healthy. I don’t want to be sad. Nobody wants to be sad.
After the suicide of fashion designer Kate Spade, her brother-in-law talked about what a great sense of humor she had. She was known for her whimsical designs. Friends described her as happy-go-lucky. She was all of those things. She also struggled with mental illness. According to reports, she didn't want to get help because of what it would do to her brand. It is time to address the elephant in the room. We need to remove the negative stigma associated with mental health. It will save lives. Kate Spade did not kill herself. Depression killed her. From the outside looking in Kate Spade had everything. Yet, she was in utter despair. She was not alone. I am Kate Spade. You may not realize it, but I bet you know a Kate Spade, too.