The Woman Behind the Bag: Kate Spade’s Suicide and Understanding Mental Illness

The Woman Behind the Bag: Kate Spade’s Suicide and Understanding Mental Illness

Article By: Greyon Fernandes

I needed to know if there was a woman behind the bag. So, I googled Kate Spade. The next day she passed.

One can assume mental illness played a part. Mental illness isn’t linear. It’s a vast web, of which little is truly known and like a snowflake, no two experiences are alike. 

I fought a mental illness, with every cell in my body. The sum of my physical injuries throughout my lifespan paled in comparison to my struggle with schizophrenia. I was irrefutably strong, but more importantly I was blessed with luck. I was lucky that my brain chemistry married my medication aptly. I was lucky that while thinking of my future in university, I was able to discern reality from psychosis. I was lucky to experience euphoric relief borne of the fact I had been given a diagnosis. I was colossally lucky, not just strong.

Kate Spade was regretfully not as lucky.

Her brother-in-law, David Spade, eloquently said, “Its a rough world out there people. Try to hang on.”. Each person’s experience with the dark, sometimes psychotic, abyss that is mental illness varies. Only the individual suffering from the mental illness can in entirety understand their own pain. She may have felt she lacked the tools to proceed with life. However, my guess is that for as much pain as she was going through, she didn’t want to create more. She may not have wanted to hurt someone she deeply cared for with her psychosis, depression etc. It breaks my heart to think of the fear, pain and loneliness she must’ve experienced in her final moments.

I feel it necessary to not leave the fate of mental health on something as fickle as luck.  I strongly believe that an education on the symptoms of mental illness, breaking the stigma around asking for/receiving help and practicing empathy with those who bravely battle mental illness can defeat cruel luck.

Dedicated to Kate Spade. 

About the Author of, The Woman Behind the Bag: Kate Spade’s Suicide and Understanding Mental Illness: Greyon Fernandes is an ambitious 23-year-old college student from Dublin, Ireland. She is committed to understanding more about mental illness throughout her studies both presently and in the future. Greyon contributes her authentic voice and knowledge of mental health while sharing parts of her personal experience.

For more mental health content, follow me @hannahdblum