Kate Spade: Shatter the Stigma

 

Mandatory Credit: Photo by CHARLES SYKES/REX/Shutterstock (418367e) KATE SPADE CFDA FASHION AWARDS, NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, AMERICA - 02 JUN 2003
Mandatory Credit: Photo by CHARLES SYKES/REX/Shutterstock (418367e)
KATE SPADE
CFDA FASHION AWARDS, NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, AMERICA – 02 JUN 2003

You have probably heard the news that successful Fashion Designer Kate Spade, age 55, was found dead in her New York apartment two days after she died by her housekeeper in Kate’s New York apartment. Social media has blown up with the news.

It is so awful. My husband Ray always says I have a morbid fascination with celebrities, movie stars, and musicians who have lives riddled with marriage problems, divorce, financial crises, and/or sudden deaths.

I’ve always puzzled over the fact that they finally achieve what represents to so many people SUCCESS (wealth and fame), and yet they live such unhappy lives or die unexpectedly and/or tragically.

And yet stylist Phillip Bloch says, “You can have all the success and it can look so great but you still feel like a failure.”

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Designers Andy Spade and Kate Spade attend AOL Build Series to discuss their latest project Frances Valentine at Build Studio on April 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: Designers Andy Spade and Kate Spade attend AOL Build Series to discuss their latest project Frances Valentine at Build Studio on April 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)

Kate Spade and her husband Andy Spade built a multi-million dollar empire with their handbag company Kate Spade. They made a great team and apparently loved each other very much. They were devoted to the care of their daughter. In 2016 Kate returned after a decade long hiaitus to launch Frances Valentine, an accessories line named after her daughter Frances Beatrix (“Bea”) and changed her name to Kate Valentine.

At the time of her death, she and Andy were separated, although they denied they were divorcing–just taking a “break.” I’ve watched interviews of them together and am impressed with their obvious love for one another and through working together, they built a very successful, blessed business.

Their 13 year old daughter Bea lived with them both. Although reports conflict, Kate allegedly left a note, letting her daughter know that it was not her fault. Many survivors of suicide loss often blame themselves. 

Kate Spade, NY fashion designer
Kate Spade, NY fashion designer

Kate was apparently very loved by family, friends, and business peers. A renown fashion publicist who knew Kate, Kelly Cutrone, allegedly burst out crying when hearing the news of her death and said, “She’s the female version of Ralph Lauren. The industry is endemic with suicide, bankruptcy, depression, and addiction. A lot of people in the fashion industry are having a hard time. It’s proportionally high. The real issue is why are so many creatives alone.”

This really struck me. Reports are that Andy Spade said that their family was shocked and devastated by Kate’s death, and that there was no indication and they had no “warning” from her that this would happen. Although she had been struggling with depression and anxiety for about six years, was under a doctor’s care and on medication (some reports are that she may have had bipolar disorder), Kate was trying to heal. “There were personal demons she was battling,” her husband Andy said.

As an interesting note, Kate was originally from the Kansas City area, where I live. So many beautiful, brilliant, creative people have lived or are in the world today, but struggle with severe depression and some even take their own lives. In fact, suicide rates are going up in America. Women who are Kate’s age (middle age) have the highest suicide rate among women. 

Kate Spade
Kate Spade

What is worst is that there is a stigma to mental illness and mental disorders. We need to shatter the stigma. As compassionate people, especially as Christian believers, we need to reach out to the hurting.

Ask him or her if they are depressed, anxious, and/or have thought about suicide. Many people think if you ask that the person will then try to commit suicide. That isn’t the case. It may very well save his or her life!

Talk with your loved one. Above all, listen. Don’t leave him or her alone if this person is severely depressed and/or suicidal. Get help for them with a pastor, therapist, or doctor. Remove any dangerous possible weapons such as firearms, knives, or razors, or medications that they can use to overdose.

Kate- happy
Kate -appearing happy

Sometimes no matter how much you try to help, someone will still commit suicide. Kate’s husband and her father allegedly had talked to her before she committed suicide, and did not suspect she’d do this. In fact, she appeared happy and to be making plans to travel on a trip. You can not blame yourself!

For those who are depressed and/or suicidal, please ask for help. You don’t need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. 

Please find a family member, friend, coworker, pastor, counselor, therapist, or doctor and share your feelings and thoughts. Let them know that you are depressed, anxious, and/or suicidal. You are not alone and you are loved! And above all, remember that God loves you and is your Healer and Deliverer, as He is mine! I am living proof that Jesus heals and sets the captives free!

The National Suicide Prevention Line is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

Kate is giving a tour of her artsy creative apartment here. She and the apartment are so beautiful. I smiled and was so touched at how she proudly displayed her daughter’s art on the walls, alongside the other famous art pieces! I love what one of her friends said about Kate, that she brought beauty to the world. I believe that it was her gift from God. 

You can listen to my podcast about Kate and 5 tips to overcome depression here.

#suicide #mentalhealthawareness #katespade

my memoir

*******I share the painful journey of walking through my own dark valley of suicidal depression and attempts, anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares, crying jags, fears, and about my childhood sexual and physical abuse, illicit affairs, and 3 abortions in my memoir. I write about Jesus’ healing and delivering power in this book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love. It is available for sale at Amazon here.

 

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March for Mental Health 5K; we’re all broken

“Don’t judge my path if you haven’t walked my journey.”

This year one of the things on my bucket list was walking a 5k. Even though I haven’t been walking consistently lately and haven’t walked a 5k in several years, it was still a goal.

And this Saturday I walked and jogged a 5k, the March for Mental Health, and finished it! I felt so happy and proud of myself!

NAMI
NAMI

 

me before 5k
me before 5k

Created by the volunteer-based, non-profit organization, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and several sponsors, this 5k walk/run was for the support of:

1) advancing the research and treatment of mental illness;
2) establishing family and peer support groups;
3) suicide prevention;
4) providing support to the health care professionals who treat mental illness, spreading overall mental health awareness.

balloons
balloons

The woman who started this 5k for NAMI, Heidi, was the mom of Adam, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He nearly died after taking 100 morphine pills, but to his doctors’ shock he came back to life. With his mother’s, counselor’s, and others’ support, he started college classes and helped his mom with founding this 5k Walk/Run. With his well-known humor, he suggested they call it, “Runs Like Crazy.”

Although she finally decided on the name, “March for Mental Health,” since Adam was born in March, he used his own name, “Runs Like Crazy,” for his team name.

In the end, Adam gave up the fight and took his own life. Heidi continues this 5k in memory of her precious son and others who have mental health issues. Below is a picture of Heidi speaking at the 5k, thanking all the sponsors and participants and her son Adam, who inspired it. 

Heidi, mom of Adam and the founder of March for Mental Health 5K walk/run
Heidi, mom of Adam and the founder of March for Mental Health 5K walk/run

Before the walk started, I also spoke with a beautiful brunette-haired woman named Annette, who was serving at the NAMI table. Her son, Clayton J. Hugill, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his teens. She said he was such a kind, loving, and funny boy.

He lost the fight to mental illness, too, and tragically, he committed suicide when he was just 22 years old. She said it was two years ago, but understandably, it is still hard for her. Here is the pin and bracelet she gave me at the 5k. My heart aches for her and Heidi.

Pin & bracelet honoring Clayton J. Hugill at 5K
Pin & bracelet honoring Clayton J. Hugill at 5K

A young woman dressed up in a costume as her “alter ego” shared her story about having borderline personality disorder, a disorder that one of our own family members has been diagnosed with recently. This woman said several profound things:

  • “I’m broken because of everything I’ve been through. Why do we run from the broken? We’re all a little broken.”
  • “Just because I’m broken doesn’t mean I can’t be fixed.”
  • “We need to be present for one another.”
woman with borderline disorder
woman with borderline disorder

I so agree with these words. We’re all broken; we all need Jesus. 

This police officer who works in the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) at the Kansas City police department also spoke. I talked with him before the walk, and he explained a little more about CIT training, which helps and prepares police officers for coming into contact with people who have mental illness and to respond appropriately to them. He thanked me for participating in the 5k walk/run. I thanked him for being there and his help.

CIT police officer
CIT police officer

There was a spirit of excitement and joy at the 5k before we began. To my surprise they were playing Christian music, which really encouraged me! One was Chain Breaker by Zach Williams, a song I love.

walkers/runners
walkers/runners

 

woman runner
woman runner

 

young girls runners
young girls runners

This kind black man prayed for everyone before the walk and I thanked him afterward for doing this. He smiled big at me and said, “We can’t forget our God!” and I said, “That’s right!”

man who prayed at 5k walk/run
man who prayed at 5k walk/run

The 5k was in Kansas City by the Missouri River. The area and the day were just beautiful, perfect for the walk! Several people brought their dogs to walk, too.

Missouri River
Missouri River

 

Man with his dogs at 5K
Man with his dogs at 5K

Along the 5k walk/run path, the NAMI staff had created boards with stats on mental health, which I found interesting.

Depression in young adults
Depression in young adults

 

Suicide in young adults
Suicide in young adults

 

teens with mental illness
teens with mental illness

 

coping skills
coping skills

This sounds silly, but I was afraid I’d get lost along the way on the walk, since I wasn’t familiar with the area in Kansas City! Thankfully, they had drawn chalk-colored arrows on the sidewalk to guide and help you.

Whatever you’re facing right now, the Holy Spirit will guide and help you, too.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

arrows
arrows

At the half-way point, the NAMI volunteer staff supplied water to the participants. You could choose to walk or run a shorter route straight ahead, or go back the way you came, which would enable you to complete the full 5k. I opted for the longer 5k route!

“Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” (John 4:13-14, The Message)

water at 5k
water at 5k

I walked and jogged, finishing the 5k. Afterward, I asked one of the staff to take my picture at the finish line. I was so happy and excited!

me after I finished the 5K--so happy & excited!
me after I finished the 5K–so happy & excited!

The staff and the sponsors had fresh fruit like oranges, bananas, granola bars, and water to hand out to the participants. Another table had pumpkin-flavored scones. 

The ready snacks for the walkers and runners are typical at 5k’s, half-marathons, and marathons walks/runs, and is one of the funnest parts–your reward! I grabbed a banana (ate half after the walk for potassium), an orange (ate the next day), a pumpkin scone (ate most of it), and some brochures on mental health, too.

fresh fruit and granola bars
fresh fruit and granola bars

 

pumpkin scone & brochures
pumpkin scone & brochures

Pray for those with mental health issues and the people who try to help them each day. You might even have a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, or someone you know who is struggling and feels all alone.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline if you or someone you love needs help is 1-800-273-8255.

We will never give up hope!

hope
hope

One of the reasons this 5k walk/run was a cause close to my heart is because of my own mental health background, when I was struggling with suicidal depression, nightmares, anger, anxiety/fears, and hopelessness, in a time of a 5-year crisis as a young adult in my 20’s. I was diagnosed with major depressive episode, anxiety disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I attempted suicide three different times during those five years, including an overdose of pills, but God spared my life. Jesus is my Healer and I give Him all the praise and glory for His healing, miraculous power in my life. He sets the captives free and gives us beauty for ashes. 

You can read this amazing story in my memoir at Amazon, Promises In The Dark, One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love, by clicking here

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Jennifer and Robin: Everyone is fighting a battle

Jennifer Huston’s and Robin William’s recent tragic suicides have created a lot of buzz over the topics of suicide, mental illness, Christians, and heaven/hell. Both apparently hanged themselves. 

Ann Voskamp wrote a beautiful piece at Holy Experience, What the Church and Christians Need To Know About Mental Health. My friend Angie Kay Webb wrote about her family’s suicide/murder and about Robin’s death and about his beloved role in the TV series Mork and Mindy at her blog

Our daughter Heather’s Facebook post on Robin Williams’ suicide caused a little controversy, with comments ranging from no one knowing if Robin was saved to a commenter believing that Heather was being insensitive about people who are depressed -~even Christians can be depressed and/or suicidal.

Our daughter Heather's Facebook post on Robin Williams' suicide caused a little controversy
Our daughter Heather’s Facebook post on Robin Williams’ suicide caused a little controversy

It is true that no one knows if Robin was saved or not. Only God knows his heart. Throughout his successful career, as many celebrities do, he struggled with alcoholism/substance abuse, with 2 rehab stints. He joked that cocaine was God’s way of telling you that you have too much money. At the time of his death, his wife said he was clean and sober.  She said that Robin was in the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease, which may have been a factor in his decision to die by suicide.

It is true that even Christians can become depressed, even suicidal.

It isn’t true that Heather was being insensitive in her Facebook post. She has seen depression first-hand. Heather isn’t ignorant about this topic. For most of her childhood, I was severely depressed from my childhood sexual and physical abuse and other traumatic life events, diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Episode, and Anxiety Disorder. 

Beth Jones, International Speaker
Beth Jones, International Speaker

I share openly about my arduous, long journey to healing through faith in Christ in my new book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love.

I’m a very different woman today from the woman I was when Heather was growing up and I married Ray 22 years ago. God has done amazing, miraculous healing in my life and I give Jesus Christ all the credit and the glory for that. My life is proof that God can and does heal today. 

Jesus is the answer to everything in this life. Including depression. He is the only answer for those who are wanting to commit suicide, believing their life has no purpose and there’s no reason to go on.

Sometimes healing from depression takes time. And/or medication. Sometimes it takes a trial of medications to find the right one to help.  Sometimes people have chemical and/or hormonal imbalances.

 Sometimes it takes intensive counseling or hospital inpatient therapy.

I am not in the camp who believes that using doctors or medication always shows a “lack of faith.” My contributing author Stephanie Buckwalter wrote about facing others’ judgment when she struggled with depression, in my book The Hands of A Woman: Everyday Women in Everyday Battles

Yes, I do believe that many doctors in the U.S. over-medicate their patients and that medications can be dangerous, toxic, and addictive. 

 

Promises In The Dark: One Woman's Search for Authentic Love
Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search
for Authentic Love by Beth Jones

To learn more about the risks of medications, I highly recommend my friend Dana Arcuri’s memoir, Harvest of Hope: Living Victoriously Through Adversity in which she shares her harrowing roller coaster ride with toxic prescription pill interactions), as well as my own book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love.

However, God can and does use medication. He knows exactly what it takes to heal each one. Healing can come in a variety of ways.

Sometimes people who suffer with severe depression need spiritual deliverance because they are being oppressed by the enemy Satan.

 God isn’t boxed in with the way He heals people. In the Scriptures, Jesus didn’t use the same cookie cutter approach for healing different ailments.

And not everyone was healed. But ultimately, He is Jehovah Rophe, the Healer.

Apparently Jennifer and Robin were in such intense pain and felt like they didn’t want to go on any more. Apparently they didn’t believe there was anyone they could turn to for help before they died. 

I wish they had felt like they could come to Jesus for the help, strength and encouragement they needed and would have lived out their days in fullness and in joy.

“For in Him we live and move and have our being.”  ~ Acts 17:28, NIV

We don’t know what demons Jennifer or Robin were facing. We don’t know why they felt so overwhelmed, and that death was a preferred alternative to living any longer. It is so sad. Both their spouses and children said they were devastated. The world has lost 2 precious people. 

Jennifer’s parents’ public statement said, “Our hearts ache today. We have lost our first born child. We have lost a wife and a mother. We don’t know what lead Jennifer to this dark place and to this end and perhaps never will understand this.”

Robin’s wife Susan said, “Yesterday, I lost my father and a best friend and the world got a little grayer. I will carry his heart with me every day.” (http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/robin-williams-dead-63-family-members-issue-heartfelt-remembrances-article-1.1901466)

What we do know is that, like Jennifer and Robin, there’s a lot of hurting people in the world. Sometimes that hurt is hidden behind a smile or a laugh or a seemingly perfect image.  

We never know what pain someone is going through. But today you can truly be Jesus’ heart, arms, ears, and feet to that person who is hurting.

Be kind. Love others. Ask if your family, friend, work peer, or neighbor is okay. Pray for him or her. Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind. 

Be kind for everyone is fighting a battle. Image Resource: Pinterest
Image resource: Pinterest

 

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32

For help: National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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