Kate Spade died. She had money, a family who loved her and lots of admiration.

So what happened? Mental illness. It took her. Away.

And Anthony Bourdain. Gone. Another creative genius.

He struggled with addiction, and mental illness claimed him, too.

I can’t count the times when, during my childhood, the ambulance was at my house and my mother was being carried away on a gurney in a straitjacket. My brothers and I would stand silently on a hill in our backyard as we watched her be carried away.

She was bipolar or, as they called it back then, “manic-depressive.” I still remember this and many other tough moments I experienced my mother go through all her life. My mother’s life was filled alternately with tears, anger, love for us and sleeping for hours.

And then she had shock treatments, which, she said, saved her life. She was better but not dependably well. And there weren’t the medications or the counseling there is now.

My mom was brilliant. She was valedictorian of her high school class and a college graduate, and she could make gourmet meals, draft house plans and build bunk beds. She was the best mom and friend to others that she was able to be.

Is this too much information?

We never know what is going on with someone truly. So be kind to them and to yourself.

We must diminish the stigma of mental illness. It’s OK to talk about it. Go ahead.

Sally Holt


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