Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

When it seems like someone has it all, seems is the word to key in on. Famed handbag designer, Kate Spade, was found dead in her New York City apartment Tuesday morning, dead from an apparent suicide. 

Spade lived what appeared to be a glamorous lifestyle. She founded a company valued in the billions for its design and production of in-demand, iconic fashion accessories. She was just 55 years old.

Authorities reported Spade left a suicide note—and I can’t stop thinking about those words of hers.

I don’t know which ones she used or how she ordered them. I don’t know her story or why she chose to end her life. But I know I wish she would have used her words to reveal her pain and her struggle sooner. Before the fact, not after. Not once it was too late to help her.

A few years back, it may have seemed like I had it all to anyone on the outside looking in, too. I had a happy marriage, two healthy kids, friends and family who loved me. I’d also landed a sexy new job as traffic manager for a fast-paced advertising and branding agency. I got the good news I was hired the day before we flew to Jamaica to vacation as a family with some dear friends. Life was good, right up until it wasn’t.

That sexy new job? It sucked the life out of me. To date, it’s still the only job I’ve ever had I never felt good at. The role demanded extreme flexibility, ceaseless multi-tasking and skilled diplomacy at every turn. The kicker was the agency’s project management systems had been deemed archaic and my boss tasked me with sourcing new systems and software and onboarding the entire staff. This was not in my wheelhouse and was the proverbial nail in the coffin for me. If this job had been my life’s focus, I might have been able to master it and feel good about my performance.

At the same time I was flailing at work, our two kids became textbook teenagers and were running at full tilt angst, hormonal imbalance, and something near burning hatred for each other. Parenting them tugged at my attention throughout my workdays, making it even harder to focus on my job. I kept hearing the words of those who’d gone before me ringing in my ears. “It’s just as important to be home and available to teenagers as it is for babies and toddlers, maybe even more so.”

During this same time period, we decided to sell our big, beautiful house that we were rarely together in as a family to enjoy. My husband and I noticed our kids were only getting more expensive to raise, prompting us to downsize about 15 years ahead of schedule to reap the benefits from a smaller housing footprint. 

The hiccup in our plan was that after selling our house, we couldn’t find what we were looking for in an existing home so we undertook building one of our own. Building to suit was something my husband had always wanted to do and something I had never wanted to do. I’d heard too many tales of blown budgets, ongoing delays, and general construction woes. Nonetheless, we found ourselves building a new house and taking on some of the general contractor’s duties in order to save money and still produce a quality home.

The attention to detail building a house demands is intense and relentless and when I added my share of the project’s weight to the heavy load of work and kids I was already carrying, I buckled. At the apex of the difficulty, I had a startling and scary thought.

I heard myself think, I don’t want to be here anymore.

The thought was so chilling, so completely disconcerting, it propelled me into action. I didn’t pause to try to understand what I meant. I did not ask myself, “Where is here?” I did not ask myself how long I wanted to be gone. I was terrified of what my answers might be.

Too scared to flesh out my thought on my own, I picked up the phone and called my doctor. She made room for me immediately. I showed up half-crazed with fear, half disbelieving I was now a person who was unable to cope with life on her own. When I explained the state of affairs bringing me to my knees, she cleared the haze and helped me to see everything I was dealing with was situational. Not one thing causing me grief was permanent.

The granite-hard project at work was nearing completion, the hardest parts were already over. Our house would be finished in few more months. The kids’ issues and challenges were phases like any other and would soon come to pass as well. My doctor guided me to the knowledge depression was not my new normal, I was merely in a period of overwhelm with an end date in sight.

I’d been so caught up in the hard of it all I’d lost any hope I’d ever be able to cope any better. She pointed out better was indeed on the horizon and through her eyes, I could see it again, too.

In the meantime to help me through, I chose to start a course of antidepressants and to begin weekly therapy sessions with a counselor who specialized in family therapy. In conjunction with each other these interventions were equally effective and six months later, I didn’t need either one any longer.

When I think about Kate Spade and the words she left only after time had run out for her, I realize that could have been me.

It could still be my neighbor or my dear friend.

It could be my daughter or my mother.

It could be my husband or my son’s teammate.

Depression can afflict any one of us at any time. No matter our seemingly envious lifestyle. No matter our financial standing. No matter the brilliance of our career.

Depression is a disease and no one chooses it, nor is anyone immune from it. One of its most dangerous symptoms is an inability to see yourself ever being free of it. Depression will stand in the way of all that is good in your life, entirely blocking your view. While you’re blinded, it will steal your hope. It will convince you pain and suffering is all you’re ever going to feel. It will make you believe you’re alone, that no one can help.

There IS help for depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, though. Please, please, please reach out with your words and ask for a leg up, a helping hand, or a shoulder to lean on if you’re feeling hopeless or alone in your struggle with this disease. Please tell your spouse you’re hurting and you don’t know how to stop. Or your best friend, your parent, your co-worker. Please tell your doctor or your therapist about your scary thoughts you don’t understand. Please use your words out loud so someone can help you see the temporary quality of your situation. Please let someone help you see past depression to the hope on the horizon.

There is no shame in disease. There is no shame in feeling weakened by it or unsure of how to recover from it. There is love and understanding waiting for you. Help is just a few words away.

***

According to CNN, suicide rates in the United States increased from 1999 to 2014  for everyone between the ages of 10 and 74, according to a 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found for white women, the suicide rate increased by 60 percent during that period.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

You may also want to read:

An Open Letter to the Family Who Just Lost A Loved One To Suicide

New Mom Takes Her Own Life After Silent Battle With Postpartum Depression: Why All Of Us Must Share Her Friend’s Plea

Kate Spade's Tragic Death Could Have Been My Own www.herviewfromhome.com #suicide #katespade #depression

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Jodie Utter

Jodie Utter is a freelance writer & creator of the blog, Utter Imperfection. She calls the Pacific Northwest home and shares it with her husband and two children. As an awkward dancer who’s tired of making dinner and can’t stay awake past nine, she flings her life wide open and tells her stories to connect pain to pain and struggle to struggle in hopes others will feel less alone inside their own stories and more at home in their hearts, minds, and relationships. You can connect with her on her blog, Utter Imperfection and on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading