This past week has been just plain awful for obvious reasons. This morning the first thing I heard when I woke up was that Anthony Bourdain had committed suicide at the age of 61. Upon learning this, as a fan and admirer of his, I was absolutely devastated, speechless, but also as much as I had this term, “triggered.” He was truly one of a kind as a storyteller and an ally of people of color and oppressed individuals. I was well aware that he had suffered from depression and substance abuse for much of his life but never expected that something like would happen. The burden of living with mental health, or more specifically anxiety and depression is something that I too know all too well. Right now I am writing this with tears in my eyes.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt isolated from the rest of my peers. Throughout much of my childhood and adolescence I was subjected to bullying and for the past year, I’ve been living with depression. Although some days are better than others, when things get bad it feels like I’ve hit rock bottom. The years of bullying I endured have left me with extreme trust issues and as a result, I have very few friends. For me, the hardest part about depression is the loneliness and lack of common understanding or a reliable support system. My own mother constantly belittles me and dismisses my negative feelings as me being “selfish” and “just sad,” and also constantly feels the need to compare me to others despite knowing how much this harms my already poor self-esteem.

Long story short, if you know someone who is struggling the most helpful thing to do rather than referring them to a random hotline or insisting that they “go to therapy,” is to offer a listening ear or friendship. This truly goes a long way and could even save their life. Life is too short and the world we live in is a very cruel, judgemental place. Now more than ever it is so important to be kind. As this past week has shown us, often not even money and fame can provide happiness.