I think of everyone who lives with mental illness or who is experiencing a mental health problem to be part of a community. And when someone in our community loses their battle with mental illness to suicide it isn't just another number to me. It's someone who dealt with the same issues that I do. I feel like I know them. I know how much harder they had to work to get through life. I know the isolation and pain that they felt.
This grief can be especially hard when the loss is someone we look up to as with the recent losses of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Reading the statement from Kate Spade's husband was particularly hard for me as it was almost a window into what my life could be like living with anxiety and depression. But these losses have served as a stark reminder that mental illness does not discriminate. It doesn't care whether we're rich, or successful, or famous. It can affect anybody.
The important thing to remember is not to lose hope. Let their passing serve as a reminder to keep fighting. Use their memory to propel you forward. While we are all part of a community, remember that you are fighting your own battle. Show your mental illness who's boss and that diagnosis does not have to mean the end. We may lose some of our own along the way, but together we can make it through.