“What you see on the outside is not necessarily what’s happening on the inside.”
That’s the point that Paula Toledo wants to drive home in the wake of Kate Spade’s tragic death.
The news hit Toledo close to home. Her younger son was only two weeks old when her husband’s struggle with mental illness and depression ultimately led to his suicide.
“No child should ever have to walk in these shoes, not Frances Spade or anyone else. Depression is real,” she tweeted.
The tragic news reminded Toledo of how important a simple purse can be — acting as a portable “life-in-a-bag” and providing emotional security with what she could keep inside.
Her purse shrunk as her kids grew older, becoming less of a diaper and snack bag, and more of a bag just for her. Toledo still remembers the day she bought her first Kate Spade purse.
“My Kate Spade helped me to identify with who I had become as a woman,” Toledo wrote on her blog.
In honour of Spade, she launched an awareness campaign encouraging everyone to open their purses, display the contents of their “portable lives” and post it on social media with the hashtag #OpenYourPurse.
“It really, profoundly struck me when I read the news and I started thinking about Kate Spade purses and all the work she put in. She was an entrepreneur, she was a mother, she had an extremely hard work ethic and built this empire,” Toledo told Global’s Laura Casella.
“We carry so much of our personality and who we are in our purses, so the movement is really to open your purse and show what’s inside,” she said.
Women are typically very private about what they keep in their purses, Toledo added, something that mirrors the feelings of those who suffer from mental illness or depression.
“Don’t be afraid to open up, don’t be afraid to show your vulnerabilities. On the outside looks perfect, but on the inside, this is a mess. This is really me,” Toledo said.
“There’s organized chaos in there, and I want people to know that what you see on the outside is not necessarily what’s happening on the inside, and it’s okay to talk about that.”
To show solidarity and compassion to anyone living with mental illness, Toledo encourages everyone to participate and share their posts.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) all offer ways for getting help if you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues.
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