On Christmas Eve, Andrew Spade posted a message on Instagram for anyone who might be struggling like his wife had. His wife, fashion designer Kate Spade, died by suicide on June 5, 2018, at the age of 55. Christmas Eve would have been her 57th birthday. The couple married a year after launching Kate Spade’s designer brand together in 1993.
Accompanying a picture of their daughter, Spade encouraged people to be kinder to each other and to look for signs of what he called “private problems.” He wrote:
Some of us are too embarrassed or prideful to admit we have flaws. Please don’t hide from them. There is no shame in having flaws. I have many. As do some of my best friends, mentors and idols. We should take pride in admitting our humanity. Perfection isn’t the goal — honesty is.
Kate Spade, known for her brightly colored and feminine fashion line, struggled in private. According to an email from her sister that was published by the Kansas City Star, she almost sought help for what her sister called “manic depression,” but in the end didn’t want to “tarnish” the name of her brand.
“The ‘image’ of her brand (happy-go-lucky Kate Spade) was more important for her to keep up,” Kate’s older sister, Reta Saffo, wrote. “She was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out.”
Suicide risk peaks for middle-aged women, and there’s a connection between perfectionistic personality traits and suicidal ideation. Spade’s post is a reminder that when people feel pressure to be perfect or embarrassed to admit their flaws, the consequences can be dangerous. He ended his post by telling people to check up on their loved ones who might be struggling in silence.
Please seek help if you are feeling helpless or lost. Ask friends and relatives if they are okay. This is truly important. Sometimes they won’t tell you how they are feeling but nudge them to find out.
How does the pressure to be perfect affect you? Let us know in the comments below.