In light of the tragedy with Kate Spade, I feel it is important to talk about how people who are hurting present themselves to the world. It takes great strength and courage to be transparent in a society that praises perfection.

In fact it scares most people into only showing the parts of their lives that look pretty or successful. Everyone has a public life and a private life. Even with the current trend to share everything on social media most people still censor what they share. They will take 100 photos and only post the 3 that are the most flattering. This is something very common with people experiencing trauma. They hide those traumas so they still feel like everyone else. They do not want to be singled out or judged because of what they are going through. They hide the pain.
Someone experiencing domestic violence does not always fit the stereotype. They may not have bruises and cuts to hide. In fact, they may show up with a smile every day. They show up at ball games, parent teacher conferences, and church on Sunday. On the outside they look like the picture perfect family. Their social media accounts contain lots of family photos, barbecues with friends, and trips. They all look so happy from the outside.
What we do not see is what happens behind the closed doors after everyone else goes home or the post is shared. We do not see the accusations being made, the screaming fights, the broken glass, or the slammed doors. We do not see the fear the victim feels every single day or the tears that they cry. The victim might not even realize that they are experiencing domestic violence. So many people think that the emotional and mental abuse is just normal struggles in a relationship because it is their normal.
We have to start talking about the ugly parts of life. The hurt feelings, the anxiety, the depression, the suicidal thoughts, and the abuse happening is not that person’s fault. If we stop the stigma around being honest and open about these problems we could start seeing people free from these burdens. Maybe they will feel safer talking about their problems and seeking help. It is more important than ever to know how to ask for help.
I do not know what was happening in Kate Spade’s life that made her choose to complete suicide. I do know that she must have been in a great amount of pain and felt there was no other answer. No one knows what is going on in someone’s personal life no matter how successful they might look. No matter what the family looks like on the outside there can be deep seated trauma and pain hiding behind their smiles.
It is okay to ask for help if you or someone you know is hurting. Whether you are experiencing pain from past or current traumas there is always someone to listen at our 24 hour HELPline (256)716-1000. These volunteers are trained in suicide prevention as well as trauma informed care. They can connect you to free, confidential support for domestic violence, sexual assault, and suicide.
Jackson County Crisis Services of North Alabama office provides free, confidential support. We are trained to provide trauma centered care for adult victims of domestic violence and victims 14 years of age and older of sexual violence. We can be reached at (256)574-5826. We can help.

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