BLOG – Shopping, Suicide, Status & Stigma (2 minute read)

Last week Kate Spade and Anthony Burdoin died by suicide. Social media is full of debates and discussions about depression and mental illness.

“We are barely scraping the surface of an epidemic stealing far too many beautiful souls before their time” wrote my friend Tracy Sheen.

Mental illness strikes one in five Australians and clear links are emerging between psychological and financial wellbeing. UK charities link overspending and unhealthy spending with mental health issues.

We live in a world where we are encouraged to buy bigger and better, to compare ourselves with others and to judge people on what they have and own.

Status is everything. We’re urged to re-mortgage to buy a bigger house, to get finance for a newer car, to get cheap credit for an exotic holiday and to be obsessed with designer brands. We’re told to buy now and pay sometime later.

Then there’s stigma. Society says you can’t be seen dead with last weeks, or even yesterdays, products and services. I’m mocked for using a 7 year old iPhone4.

For many, life is a crazy and constant cycle of shopping, debt and stress trying to meet other people’s expectations.

Howard Tinker recently wrote ‘As a therapist, coach and facilitator I’ve spent a lot of time honestly talking and listening to people, and the vast majority of those people tell me they have had suicidal thoughts. Most of us have feelings of living a lie and hoping we don’t get found out… imposter syndrome’

So what can we do?
Let’s Quit, Connect and Care.

Quit. Let’s quit shopping. Instead of buying stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t like, let’s phone a friend. Not a quick Facebook message or text but a real telephone conversation.
– My friend Mel Kettle phones her friends every week. As a result, she says, her friendship have become stronger and stronger.

Connect. Let’s quit ‘busy’. Everyone is ‘Busy being busy’. Wearing ‘busy’ like a badge of honour. Instead let’s connect with people we haven’t spoken to in a while. Reach out today. Call them. Check in. Invite them to do something with you. And then keep reaching out.
– How many people actually phoned me last week when I got my Moon Boot? Just one (Thanks Kim)

Care. Let’s quit bragging about the things we’ve bought. Instead let’s care about our families, our friends and people we don’t even know. Kindness costs nothing. It’s absolutely and completely free. The thing that’s needed most in this world is genuine care and kindness.
– I wore my oldest clothes on my recent Kimberley charity trek. Did I look daggy amongst all the brand new $140 hiking shirts? For sure. Did I care? No. I reminded myself I’d donated $1,000 of my personal savings to help kids who need professional care.

There is more to life than having things.

Man Coach and Author Mike Campbell says ‘If you find yourself being overly concerned about what other people might think of you, then try surrounding yourself with people who back you, will listen to you, but won’t judge you’.

Let’s remove the facades, let’s live in truth and let’s be our real selves. But first let’s quit, connect and care.

Until next time…