I’m upset about the death of Gia Allemand, the model and former Bachelor contestant who killed herself last week. I don’t know her at all and I wasn’t even a particular fan of her on the show, but I’m shaken up.
It feels weird to be so sad about the death of someone you don’t even know but I can’t get over how tragic it is because she seemed to have it all.
It doesn’t make any sense to me. When I am dealing with my own anxiety about my life it always comes in the disguise of feeling like I am not thin and beautiful enough, rich and successful enough or likeable enough. Gia was young, beautiful, successful and wealthy. She used to be a professional ballet dancer–a profession I idolize. What was Gia telling herself in her depression? What could she possibly be in want for?
If I take my anxiety thoughts as logical thoughts, her struggle with depression seems insane.
Of course, that’s the trickiest part about mental health issues–they aren’t logical. Happiness and peace are completely separate from external factors like physical beauty and wealth. But, for whatever reason it’s easier to chase all these things we know are superfluous to our actual happiness than it is to figure out how to be happy as imperfect people in imperfect circumstances.
Learning about Gia’s depression has put my “enough” thoughts in a new perspective. She was already more of the things I wanted to be than I have hope of becoming–so there’s no glory at the finish line. There’s a new, farther off finish line–the one she had her sights on.
It seems like proof that happiness doesn’t come along with the things I am trying to get in order to be happy.
There’s a hard reality in dealing with the death of someone like this: external success doesn’t translate into internal success, despite what our self doubt tells us. External success is a red herring. It distracts us from the internal work we need to do in order to be happy and healthy. The way my brain tells me to be happy… is just wrong. It’s not about chasing and finding. It’s about learning how to get rid of the desire to chase.