Buckel, Spade, Bourdain.

I’d met David Buckel, Kate Spade, and Anthony Bourdain through my work as a reporter and talk show host. Over the years, we’d shared pleasantries in person and, it seems, the unpleasantries of depression in private.

First, I want to thank everyone who’s checked in with me these last few days. Let’s be clear, though: not every depressive wants to die, and not everyone who commits suicide suffers from depression.

Today, I feel like my grandfather who prefaced every offering with, “I wish I could do more.” And since all I’ve got is what I know firsthand, here’s a tiny primer on depression, to be used only with great care and honest consideration.

Depression is an insidious beast who traps you in a dark room with no clear way out, since you never noticed the way in. You’re stuck in that room for a year, a week, a day, a month… until it becomes your new normal. That’s the exact moment you need an emergency evacuation.

Whether or not you think you’ve tangled with this monster: KNOW YOUR OWN HEALTHY BASELINES AND YOUR UNHEALTHY TRIGGERS.

Write them down, record a video on your phone, and give them to someone you trust to give them back when you’ve crossed into dangerous waters. And when that person tells you that you need a life raft, believe them.

Listen neither to the under-diagnosers, “You’re fine, just snap out of it,” nor to those who know nothing but diagnose everything, “You’re bipolar with no grasp on the past or present, you’ll never get along with anyone, you’re damaged goods.”

They’re wrong. Depression often gets better when circumstances do. Sometimes it lifts with medication, or therapy, or time. You are not the disease. You’re a person having a rough go for now, not forever.

I’ve never spoken with anyone who succeeded at suicide, but I’ve interviewed dozens who have failed. Not one among them claimed to regret that they fucked up the attempt.

Here’s to the fuck ups, and here’s to everyone who doesn’t even try. And to David, Kate, Anthony, and all your loved ones, I am so sorry for your pain. I wish I could do more.

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