Anthony Bourdain's ex-girlfriend shares powerful message about coping with mental health problems
On Friday morning, TV chef Anthony Bourdain was discovered unresponsive in a hotel room in France. News of his passing quickly spread around the world and, once it was confirmed as a suicide, so too did messages of love and support for others who are currently in a dark place with their mental health.
Chrissy Teigen described depression as "a lonely hole," and advised her followers to "watch the people you love and don’t be afraid to speak up." Meanwhile, fellow chef Gordon Ramsay said he was "Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain." Ramsay continued: "He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food. Remember that help is a phone call away US:1-800-273-TALK UK: 116 123"
But one of the most nuanced posts about depression came from Paula Froelich, a journalist and author who dated Bourdain in 2005.
In a series of tweets, Froelich outlined the problems with depression and the reasons that might drive some individuals to take their own lives.
"Here's the thing about depression: it's a sneaky little B***h," she began.
"You can be rich as hell, totally successful but still lonely AF and the 'you're nothing but a fraud' voice only goes away when the ambien takes effect. The problem with that is ambien makes the harsh voice louder in the morning. And there’s only a few you can talk to about it - but even then sparingly because it just gets OLD, doesn’t it? And you become the sad sack ... even though you’re normally so FUN."
Though the first tweet was clearly motivated by Bourdain's death, the entire thread focused more on mental health problems in general, and the experiences that almost all depressed people feel at one point or another during their low periods.
"And it can take a village of pills, shrinks, empathetic friends, neighbors, to pull you out of a slump - and guess what?! You’re not manic, or some other couch shrink diagnosis you just have. Regular old depression. You know because you’ve wondered and went to go get checked out hoping that there was some magic pill somewhere that would make it all better.
"But no. There’s not.
"It’s lonely, it magnifies everything into something awful, and you don’t know when or if this cycle will end... so it’s also terrifying. And embarrassing. And humiliating - because there’s something wrong with you.
"But take heart in knowing: only the best, funniest, loveliest, most empathetic, wonderful, talented people have depression. You’re in a good crowd. Now. Let’s go fight that black dog. Together."
In mourning the beloved chef, many people have come to realise that they, themselves, have been struggling with depression, or that someone close to them has shown symptoms of the illness for a while. And, for that reason, it's important that we continue to discuss mental health problems, and understand that those who suffer with them can't simply shake it off or pop a pill.
Depression claimed the life of Anthony Bourdain before he could be helped - but that doesn't mean that others can't benefit from the messages that are being sent out now. Hopefully, his loss will save someone else, and eventually we won't have to lose people to this terrible illness anymore.