Kate Spade’s suicide- preventing copycats.

The tragic news of Kate’s Spade’s death by suicide today came as a blow to many who assumed she was someone who “had it all. “ We don’t yet know any details, but the sad truth is that there is an increase in suicides across all ages in the United States, and an increase in anxiety and depression rates. Sadly, in the wake of a high profile suicides, copycat behavior often follows. Because Kate Spade has name recognition on such a global scale, the potential for copycat behavior is not only possible, but highly likely.

The name and product lines of Kate Spade are synonymous with quality, whimsy, and something bigger than each of us. Owning a real (or even fake) Kate Spade product offers a simple and straightforward invitation to snippets of a beautiful life. These snippets offer small moments of relief from the messiness of the world we live in. If you are a woman reading this, you know exactly what I am talking about, which is perhaps why the actual Kate Spade’s actual death by suicide is hitting the world in such a profound way.

My fear is that the Kate Spade handbag or dress sitting nicely in your closet (the one that brought you a tiny shred of joy just this morning when you glanced at it while you were getting dressed) just took on a whole new meaning. Tonight before you go to sleep, you might take another long look at that handbag or dress, and wonder if the world really is at is appears. As a therapist, I will answer in advance to save you some existential angst. The answer is yes and no.

Yes, the world is messy and not perfect. We are messy and not perfect. We are complex humans with incredibly complex brains, emotions, experiences and we all make mistakes. No, the world is not really as perfect as a Kate Spade handbag might have led you to believe, and the snippet of perfection was just that- a snippet. Millions, actually billions of dollars went into marketing the belief that if you buy a specific product like a simple and beautifully crafted handbag, you too will have a perfect life. We fall for that line of thinking every single day.

Suicidal thinking often happens when a person has lost all hope, and has lost touch with reality to such a degree, that they really can’t see clearly. The thinking that the world would be better off without them is common. Deep depression can cause this faulty thinking. I have sat with people in these dark places, and then sat with them following their recovery. They often look back in astonishment that they tumbled to such a low place.

If you have a friend or loved one who is feeling depressed and appear to be in danger, please intervene on their behalf. Often it is very simply a tiny shred of hope that is needed to keep a person going one more day until they can get themselves to safety, or the get a glimpse of coming caring to help them see clearly. Perspective is a big helper in breaking through the darkness. Offering your loved one an opportunity to contemplate past or future times might serve as an antidote to their current inability to see beyond their current situation.

Please remember that your loved one might not be thinking clearly, and in that case, you MUST ACT ON THEIR BEHALF, even if they get angry at you in the moment. They will thank you later. Please call this suicide hotline number if you are in the US and needing help: 1-800-273-8255. Please find a local mental health professional,  or someone to assist you. Thank you and please keep wearing your Kate Spade things. Your Kate Spade product might just take on a whole new meaning.  Remember that the world is what it is; wonderful, infuriating, surprising, unpredictable, and messy.

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Creating a YES brain

The Whole Brain Child duo Dr. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson’s latest book release is entitled The YES Brain. Based on real neuroscience by leading experts in the developmental field, this book is an invitation create ideal conditions for your child to develop the lifelong skills of resilience, empathy, insight and a sense of balance. With real and down to earth techniques of simple shifts in how one does their day-to-day parenting, this manual is a quick read for changing things up in ones’ home and fine tuning attitude. I am speaking from the perspective of a clinician who works with families,  and as a parent to four children.

A YES environment offers children an opportunity to grow their creativity, curiosity and neural connections toward a healthy brain. Sadly, many factors in our current generation are contributing to children growing up in a NO world. The NO world (that many of us experienced in our own childhoods) is based on fear, rigidity, and anxiety. Sadly, this negative pattern is often perpetuated for generations, and endemic to many institutions across our social landscape.

What we know now, thanks to brain imaging, is that a child’s brain is really a reflection of the environment they are raised in. Brain imaging has also shed light on the level of flexibility of the human brain (a concept known as neuroplasticity), and its ability to change, which negates most of the 20th century’s concept of how a brain works.  An entire genre of thinking has evolved with this new information, and the parenting market is clogged with products and books espousing miraculous techniques for brain growth.  It might be hard to discern what is real and what is fluff when shopping for the right type of book, product, food etc, with so many things crowding this new market. The YES Brain, and everything else written by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, are the real deal.

 

The Artist’s Way…a way to seriously change your life!!!!

The Artist’s Way has been a best-selling book for the past 25 years. This book offers readers an opportunity to walk through a twelve week process (one chapter per week) of breaking through creative blocks. Julia Cameron’s recipe is simple, stick with two non-negotiable tasks: writing “morning pages” (daily journal entry of three full hand written pages), and take oneself on a weekly “artist’s date,” while reading this book. Each chapter forces readers to explore the uncomfortable “stuff” that holds us back from being our best selves.

Having led many Artist’s Way groups as an art therapist, I can attest to the remarkable power of transformation this book offers to participants. Cameron’s ideas are so gentle, yet powerful, it is impossible to not change if you really do the full twelve week process. I have personally had massive, personal transformations while engaging in the exercises in this book, and watched participants experience intense and profound change while walking through it.

As an art therapist, I have read many, many books on creativity, change and transformation, but few are as thorough as The Artist’s Way. Although Cameron is not a therapist herself, her book reads as a therapeutic journey of exploration, and really offers an opportunity for people to become their own therapist.

Please click on image of book above to purchase this book on Amazon.

 

 

Amazing Kwik Stix solid tempera paint and Art Therapy

 

This art therapy blog will begin to review some art products. Today’s feature are the amazing Kwik Stix. Don’t be fooled by the small child featured on the packaging, these amazing paint sticks are the perfect medium for all age groups. The colors are vibrant, and the process is neat, dry and simply perfect.

As an art therapist, finding a medium that is age appropriate, respectful, and perfect for a person’s motor skills is essential to the work we do. The perfect medium can serve as a conduit for helping a person truly express themselves. I have been using this for people with dementia, and found they are powerful because of the vibrant color, ease of use, and smooth application onto paper. I have also used them with teens, adults, small children and large art therapy groups with equally impressive results. For more details or to order, please clic on the link above.

Suicide Prevention Hotlines: Please Reach Out for Help

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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Twitter Lifeline: @800273TALK

Instagram: 800273TALK

Facebook: 800273TALK

If you are reading this, you might be in a crisis. If you are reading this, you might be digging around the internet looking for a sign or message to reconsider self harm, or a reminder that self harm is not the only option for yourself. What else can you do? Please consider reaching out to one of the above numbers. Please consider reaching out to someone who loves you, or someone who is looking out for you (a teacher, a coworker, a neighbor, etc). When we get into the state of mind where suicide or self harm feel like the only option, our brains are not functioning at their full capacity. How do I know this? I worked in inpatient psychiatric places for many, many years, and watched thousands of people wake up from a suicide attempt so grateful for a second chance.

Please take a moment to consider your experience from a different perspective. What might the younger version of yourself say about your situation? What kind of advice could your older self from the future give to you about what you might be experiencing now. It might be helpful to write this in the form of a letter to yourself, or a video to yourself. Please consider calling the above numbers if you feel you are in danger.