Why I feel such a loss over Anthony Bourdain’s Suicide.
National Suicide Prevention Line Call 1-800-273-8255.
I worshiped him.
Hung on his words.
Watched him mature.
I was proud of his open admission to substance abuse and recovery.
I loved his travel ethic. His clear understanding of how intricately linked food is to culture.
He seemed sincere. Kind. Understood the power he wielded without ego or arrogance.
You’d think we were best friends. Of course we never met. The closest I ever got to Anthony
Bourdain was Row 50 of the Paramount Theatre in Seattle when he and Mario Batali entertained an audience of admirers.
Why I feel such a loss of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide – I felt like I knew him personally. I often half jokingly said Bourdain for President in 2020. Maybe I was more serious than joking. In my eyes he was everything I wanted to be; a talented writer and storyteller, an incredible chef, a conscientious and thoughtful traveler, smart, witty, empathetic and unconcerned about what others thought of him.
But was he all these things? Or was it part of the act? What demons possessed him to take his own life, at the height of his career? With a beautiful little daughter? Loved and respected by millions the world over? Is keeping up appearances for celebrities just too hard in this age of non-stop media?
I think he may have been conflicted about his celebrity – because essentially it goes against many of his beliefs. Should chefs be like rock stars? Does promoting travel to remote places around the world cause too much stress on these places and change them? Did he feel guilty? Did he think he wasn’t worthy of his unbridled success?
Was it just all too much? Clearly it was. And it’s why I feel such a loss over Anthony Bourdain’s suicide.
I am not a clinical psychiatrist, a mental health professional or a doctor of any kind. I’m just a fan who feels stricken that for Anthony Bourdain there was a burden, whatever it was, he could no longer bear.
The United States has a crisis on its hands. And although celebrity suicides bring this issue of suicide to light in the media, the real crazy thing is the number of suicides we never hear about.
In 2016 (the last year that statistics are available) 45,000 people committed suicide in the United States. That’s 124 PER DAY! And thousands more, thankfully, attempted but failed to commit suicide.
Washington State, where I am sitting writing this blog today, ranks 26th in the United States for suicides. Montana is number one.
I don’t have the answers. I just have the questions. And a heavy heart. My hero is gone – and I feel the loss.
New York Times Article about suicide in the USA
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Suicide Statistics
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline