Friday, June 08, 2018

Prominent New York State Assemblywoman Who Has Experienced Mental Health Issues, Weighs In On Kate Spade Death



Kate Spade is a brand that I have always admired. I recall my older sister unable to contain her excitement every time a new collection would come out, waiting rather impatiently for email notices of the highly anticipated, 24hr sales to rack up. The brand has always been sophisticated, yet youthful and lets not forget,  affordable.

I myself have never been one with an affinity towards flashy labels and logos, hence over time, Kate Spade became my go to brand. Like many women on a global scale, I have several bags, wallets, jewelry,  clothes, shoes, linens, and stationery  with the signature bow. Her knack for bold colors, and vivid patterns followed by positive quotes, captured the hearts of many.

Kate Spade is a brand we all love and adore.

News of her passing was not easy information to swallow. I was driving through the streets of Brooklyn,  when I received  the news of Kate's passing. I slowly mouthed, "Kate Spade is what? WHAT? She did what?" My heart sank. When I reached my destination I literally sat in my car for a few moments, taking much needed time to recover from the shock of it all. But quite honestly, I truly needed time to absorb the reality of the invisible daily pain many people suffer with.

Depression is real, mental illness is real and life is real as well.

In our busy New York lives, it is sometimes easy to forget that everyone  we encounter may be dealing with "something." Whether  stemming from our past or our present, pain is real.

Oftentimes, many of us put on a mask of happiness but inside we are crying - too ashamed to reveal our real emotions for fear of looking weak and vulnerable. Shrouded in fears of judgement - whispers and gossip, along with so many other things, remain bottled up inside, while eating us up. Ultimately,  the lack of trust in a safe outlet denies us the access to obtain available resources, and the cycle continues.

I've dealt with my own personal circumstances over the course of my life. Unfortunately, I recognize the deep rabbit-hole of depression and the fight it takes to climb out and reclaim your life. I share this not to be judged, but as a message to someone, somewhere to say: "I understand you. I know what you are feeling, and brighter days are ahead because this battle can be won!"

If you or anyone you know is dealing with mental health issues, please understand that There IS help. Non-judgemental help.  Safe help. Loving and caring help. This support can come from family, friends (maybe not them all of the time) and YES professionals.

Somehow, the stigma surrounding the idea of "going to see" someone for help for mental health is deemed negative. Yet, if your physical health was in question you would see a doctor. If your oral health was declining, you would see a dentist. I don't know when the narrative shifted about seeking help for your mental health, but as a society we must be conscious and focus on reshaping this narrative, while becoming keen to available resources around us.

You don't have to have it all together because the truth is none of us do - but with open hearts  and minds - together we can have it all. Rest in peace Kate Spade. We will wear your garments, carry our purses and whip our wallets with pride in honor of your contributions, with a commitment to raising mental health awareness. 

May your mark on fashion last a lifetime. 


Diana C. Richardson 

If you need help, or you know someone who
does, please reach out as follows:
National Suicide Hotline
NYC Well


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