When news broke last week that CNN star Anthony Bourdain had taken his own life, I was saddened but not shocked. Not because I personally knew Bourdain was struggling, but because I know how hopeless life can feel sometimes.
I’m thankful that I have never struggled with suicidal thoughts. But a very dear friend has been struggling with such thoughts lately. This is a debilitating, debasing, and damaging struggle, for it spills into all areas of life, severely impacting personal, familial, romantic, and professional relationships.
Depression is a vicious cycle. It drains energy to the point in which days are spent in bed and allows lethargy to win out over vigor.
Travel becomes a way that some self-medicate. Perhaps that spurred some of the amazing trips that Bourdain took over the years. But travel is not the solution.
The issue of Bourdain (and Kate Spade) takes me to a central problem. Riches, fame, and wild success do not bring happiness. They never do. Travel doesn’t either.
All of humanity fights discontent to one degree or another. My contentment comes through my Christian faith, freeing me of the pressure of having to earn the approval of others. Yet every day is a new battle.
For those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, I gently implore you to seek professional help today. Do not put it off. No problem, no setback, and no disappointment is worth taking your life over. Reach out to a friend or loved one and talk the issue out. If you’re not near someone you trust, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You don’t have to fight your battle alone. Life is meant to be shared with others, both the good times and the bad times.
I’ll miss Bourdain’s wit and some of the food he introduced me to. I would wager a guess that many of us have friends or loved ones that are struggling or have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. Reach out to them today, even if just to quickly say “hello” or “I love you”. You won’t regret it.
image: Peabody Awards (used by permission)