Mental health is a very sensitive subject that affects a lot of people. Specifically, suicide is not a topic that gets talked about enough, but the fact is that there are lots of individuals who have suicidal thoughts and are considering taking their own lives. They need our support.
Entrepreneur Andrew Spade posted a touching message on Instagram and reached out to anyone and everyone who’s in an incredibly tough situation, like his wife Kate had been. Fashion designer Kate Spade killed herself on June 5, 2018, when she was 55. She would have been 57 years old on Christmas Eve, 2019.
As part of the post honoring his wife’s memory, Andrew shared a picture of his and Kate’s daughter and talked about being kind to one another, as well as how perfectionism can be detrimental to mental health and can lead to heart-breaking decisions. Read on for Bored Panda's interview with Dr. Emma Morton from the University of British Columbia about the link between perfectionism and suicidal thoughts.
Bored Panda asked Dr. Emma Morton from the University of British Columbia about the link between perfectionism and suicidal thoughts. Here’s what she had to say.
“When we set excessive and inflexible high standards for ourselves and become self-critical about not meeting those, perfectionism can become a problem for our mental health and potentially contribute to depression or suicidal thoughts.”
“Perfectionism is a very insidious problem—even if someone achieves great success in their personal or professional life, negative thinking patterns lead them to be highly self-critical, focus on perceived mistakes, or mentally discount their achievements,” Dr. Morton said.
“Negative thinking patterns can include only paying attention to failures and ignoring successes, black or white thinking (e.g., “If I get anything less than an A+ on this test I’m a failure”), labeling oneself based on mistakes (e.g., “I’m a loser, an idiot”), mind-reading (e.g., “everyone will think I’m a loser for not getting this promotion”), or holding yourself personally accountable for things that go wrong and attributing successes to luck or the contributions of others (e.g., “I only got that award because nobody else applied”).”
The Dr. continued: “These kinds of perfectionistic thoughts not only contribute to feelings of depression and worthlessness but can make it harder to reach out for help.”
“People who struggle with perfectionism may worry that they will be judged for their perceived failures, feel that they are inadequate for needing help, or assume they will be a burden on their family and friends,” she said. “Together, this can make people with perfectionism particularly vulnerable to thoughts of suicide.”
Andrew and Kate launched her designer brand in 1993 and got married a year after that. Kate’s husband Andrew had this to say after his wife’s death: “Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives.”
According to Andrew, Kate taking her life came as a shock to him: “We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling.”
There are many factors linked to suicidal thoughts, and perfectionism is one of them. According to one study, the pressure to be perfect (whether that pressure is self-made or thrust onto our shoulders by those around us) makes a person more likely to think about taking their own life. This raises the issue that perfectionism as a trait may do much more harm than good.