We need to talk.

I try TRY to keep as much of my content purely style related, but I just need to talk about this subject because it’s gnawing away at me like termites and I need to blog to get it out of my system. I am also trying to speak my truth more, without fear, and I thought this would be a good place to do so.

The recent Kate Spade tragedy touched me so much. I liken it to when Robin Williams committed suicide and the overwhelming feeling of loss, coupled with utter devastation that a man that made me laugh so much, was so deeply unhappy, he felt there was no way out.

Kate Spade, with her beautiful clothing, her stationery I avidly bought every new season, and her quotes that I regularly abide by. Suddenly she is here no more, and when I went to buy my latest diary, I felt like crying when I saw the stationery in John Lewis, when previously it brought me so much joy.

I didn’t know Kate Spade or Robin Williams, but I do know that they touched my heart in a way that made me feel like I knew them. How did they feel so lonely? We will never know.

Today I read that Sophie Gradon from Love Island passed away. It has not been confirmed how she passed, but from everything I have read, she suffered from depression and it seems that she too felt there was no way out. To look at Sophie from the outside, she had it all. Beauty, popularity, love, fame….but what demons was she fighting?

I’m not a psychologist, nor do I claim to be an expert on the issue, but what I do know is that I know multiple friends, family members, and hell even myself that suffer from mental health issues – be it anxiety, OCD, depression, bipolar. Talking about mental health is as normal to me as telling someone I have got a headache. I don’t feel any stigma by telling a close friend that I am having a crap time, for reasons I can’t explain or identify. It’s just “MEH”.

I am lucky to have been raised in a family that was very open about talking about our feelings in a safe place, without fear of judgement or stigma.

But, what truly, truly bothers me, is the new generation coming through. The generation of young adults in their early 20’s (I know a few), who seemingly cannot hold a conversation, make eye contact, make small talk. You know – the general basics of communication.

But give them a phone and they can Snapchat and Instagram story everything about their lives. They might get a “you ok hun?” text from a friend, but they will still feel lonely, isolated and cut off, by the fact they can only communicate their feelings via social media.

Again, I am not speaking for all 20 year olds, but this seems to be something I have noticed and feel concerned about.

I worry that the art of communication and the basic forms of conversation are dying. When did we stop talking to each other? When did it become ok to post shit online about someone, send a crappy message, etc, etc, when the best thing in the world would have been to sit down and chat it through. How quickly would a problem be solved by having a chat on the phone, or a meet up over a cup of coffee?

Years ago when we lost a friend, it would be subtle. Now you can be deleted or blocked and never find out the reason why. This is hard enough to deal with when you’re in your 30’s, but as a young adult with fragile emotions, it’s enough to isolate them and hit them hard.

Then I worry about the Tinder effect. When I was in my 20’s, there was the anticipation and fun of going out on a Friday night, having a few Smirnoff Ices, and wondering if you would¬† meet a boy that night. You’d have a dance, maybe a snog (sorry Mum) and the next day everyone’s memories would be a bit hazy but fun. Now there’s evidence, there’s screen shots, there’s stories, there’s videos. It’s enough to make young adults paranoid about every single thing they do.

But anyway, now¬† you don’t have to go out to meet someone. You can sit at home and swipe through photo after photo. You may go on a date with that person. They may be really nice, really pretty, but hey, if I keep swiping there’s plenty more fish in the sea. “Why put all my eggs in one basket when there’s a whole database full of potential hot dates?”

I am a sucker for Love Island, but seeing the way the boys and girls treat each other is like real life Tinder. It’s frightening, and it’s even more frightening seeing girls in their early 20’s getting botox, lip fillers, plastic surgery to keep correcting themselves, when they don’t realise they were effing beautiful to start with.

So basically, I am here to say STOP. Make it STOP.

I want to teach my son communication. I want to teach him how to talk to people his own age, how to engage with adults, people in authority and to have respect for absolutely everyone he meets. That everyone, EVERYONE is fighting a battle that nobody knows about, and everyone deserves your time, attention and respect.

I feel like I want to save the next generation, and I need your help to do it. We can’t ban phones, iPads or TV’s because that is the world they are growing up in. But we can balance it by having actual conversations and teaching them how to talk about their feelings in a way that they will never feel judged. That no matter what shit goes on, on social media, or at school, that they will always, ALWAYS have a safe place.

Build a network for your children, hell build a frigging village, town, city of support. Encourage role models in uncles, aunties, close friends and always give them someone they can turn to when Mum or Dad might not understand.

We can’t stop depression, but we can give it a bloody good fight, we can give the next generation a fighting chance… and the time to act is now.