On Friday, Anthony Bourdain died in France, found by his good friend, chef Eric Ripert, in his hotel room as they were working on an episode of his cooking and traveling show, Parts Unknown. He reportedly died by suicide.
Bourdain’s death effected many, many people who were influenced by his approach to life, food, and connecting with other people. And the manner of his death has inspired a great deal of conversation about how we should be reaching out to one another, especially people who are experiencing depression. You may not know how someone is suffering, or if they are. One of the many suggestions is that you “check in” on someone, and let them know how loved they are.
Film and TV critic Sheila O’Malley shared a long Twitter thread in response to this idea, relating a time in her life when she felt incredibly low. O’Malley had a very close relationship with her father, and after his passing she was finding it very difficult to function.
She says that she moved to a new apartment and found herself unable to pack. She cried day after day. And being surrounded by everything she needed to do may it even harder to get started.
But she had this friend named David. David tried to do the checking on her thing, but it didn’t make much of a dent. She was too depressed.So she says, David took a risk and arranged for more extreme intervention.
O’Malley says he arranged to have a group of friends come over to her place and just clean up for her. He didn’t warn her it was coming, except to ask if she’d be home on a particular night. And in they barged!
At first, O’Malley was confused and not sure how to act. She was still unable to function, even as a surprise host. But her friends make her feel okay with where she was at, and just did the business of unpacking her house for her.
She shared some pictures of the busy worker elves:
And their hang out pizza session.
She even got help from people she wouldn’t have expected it from, or didn’t know particularly well. But they just saw it as a good deed, like a community fundraiser:
O’Malley wants people to know that sometimes they can’t ask for help, or they need more than a message and phone call. When you’re depressed, you don’t always think you deserve help.
She warns that it could have gone a completely different way, and David took a big chance on her warm reception to the idea. But it changed her life!
And she’s so grateful to have warm and lovely memories in her home.
Plus, it looks great.
If you can, do more than check in. Show up.
In the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.