Before I get started, I’m going to go ahead and post a trigger warning, as I’ll be discussing suicide, self-harm, and depression in this post. But feel free to enjoy the music below, if you so desire.
Depression is a silent thing, and suicide is even quieter. For every Carrie Fisher, who lived every day openly as a reminder that people suffer from mental illness, hundreds more put on a fake smile and feign interest in the things and people they love. Some get the help they need, and others struggle alone. And regardless of who they are, some of them choose to end their pain.
Ten years ago today, Kim Daul hanged herself in her Paris apartment, shortly after posting the above song to her now defunct blog, “I Like to Fork Myself.” Ms. Kim was a rising star in the fashion world, which normally would not have interested me at all, had I not read a few articles about her, which led me to her hilarious, insightful, and incredible relatable blog. Her zest and poetry-like prose kept me coming back to read every post, like I was checking in with an old friend.
I honestly felt like I knew her – at least as well as anyone who just follows them on what was social media for me back then – and I was legitimately shocked when I heard the news. While Daul did post some concerning things – mentioning how her life was so lonely, she felt helpless, and she just wanted the pain to end – I just thought she was being honest about her struggles. Everyone deals with their depression in different ways, but I had assumed she was very much like me: I talk or write about how my depression affects me because it helps me process it. The suicide hotline has been a major saving grace for me on multiple occasions, where I was just able to incoherently rant and/or cry until things started to somewhat make sense again. But, like I said above, not everyone works that way.
To this day, I wonder what Daul’s life would be like had she not ended it at 20 years old, had she gotten the help she needed. Maybe she would have retreated from public life like Lisa Nicole Carson (of Ally McBeal fame), who took ten years to deal with her bipolar disorder. I’d like to think she would have become an advocate, a vocal supporter of mental health care availability, all while looking fabulous. Her bright smile and quick wit cheered me up on many occasions, and I have no doubt she did that for so many others. But instead, perhaps she saw the backlash against Britney Spears and Margot Kidder (she was basically mocked out of Hollywood when she had a very public manic episode in 1996) and decided the stigma was not worth it. I can’t pretend to know what Daul experienced, partially because she came from a completely different culture than I, but I can imagine the hopelessness that engulfed her. I’ve felt that very thing, and it’s terrifying and overwhelming and you just want it all to stop.
We have to do better. We have to make a world in which Kim Daul could have reached out for help without fear of repercussion. We have to let everyone know there are resources and people who can help. None of that will bring her back, but just maybe it can bring someone else away from the brink.
RIP, Kim Daul
I miss you.
If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, please click on the link to the Suicide Hotline or call 1-800-273-8255.