Anthony Bourdain. Suicide. Many dedications on television were given in respect to him and missing the biggest question of all. How could millions of viewers, friends, and the business network he worked for who filmed him miss the suicide warning signs? Warning signs can be found on by clicking here.
I only started watching Anthony back last year; however, I am guilty of watching many episodes and not realizing the signs at first. This was because I was interested more in the story and food, but there was one particular episode that triggered a thought in the back of my head, “He was showing a cry out for help.” I only thought of this for a few seconds, but just a few days later the news was reporting he had committed suicide. This ironic moment has motivated me to write this article.
Some are shocked he had no drugs in his system and some blame his heavy drinking, but I haven’t seen or read about anyone talking about the environment in which he worked. It can be a tough topic to read about, but I believe it needs to be said. Anthony displayed cries out for help on national television in front of millions of viewers. The more I think about this, the more I feel his work environment gave him the best job in the world, but it intensified his depression. I am not blaming the network for his death, but I want to bring awareness to the, “Subconscious cries for help.”
I remember my coworker and I sitting at a coffee house one day and I sat down to meet her for a business meeting. She said she was so aggravated hearing the men behind her discussing Anthony’s suicide. One of the men said, “He had everything, what did he have to complain about,” in a very snark and demeaning tone. That comment just solidified my reasoning. People who are in a higher public eye have others lose their,” humane perspective,” of them. They once were approached as a human, but the more they get famous, the more they become approached as an object, the more they can’t trust relationships, and the more they feel used……they have lost their true feeling of connection with people even though they are surrounded by them like ants on a donut.
I know Anthony was a celebrity and has more outreach than a typical citizen, but we must not forget and continue to bring awareness to all the military suicides, youth suicides, and all the suicides happening on a daily basis. It could aggravate some people and question, “Why is Anthony getting all the attention when we have millions of other who have committed suicide?” In my opinion, it is simply his number of outreach compared to the other individuals. Becoming a celebrity and having so many people connect with him through his documentaries, built a superficial relationship because you feel connected to him even though you do not know him. It is ironic so many millions of Americans felt connected to him, but he lost connection for himself.
There is a possibility he felt like his life was so fulfilled and he could die happy and wanted to die in that moment because that happiness he felt he couldn’t ever obtain again.….but I have perspective on external factors. Granted, these views come from clips CNN wanted to show after the scenes had been edited, it is unknown to me if all of Anthony’s words had been incorporated in the final cut or if Anthony had a role in the final copy.
I have listed three clip descriptions of episodes where Anthony was crying out for help on national television in hopes this article will circulate to wake up businesses about their role in suicide prevention, particularly in the film and television industry. I would also like to point out, my knowledge of Anthony is only of an outside perspective. I do not know any internal struggles or previous treatment he may have had. All of the content you are about to read is solely based upon my knowledge of subconscious cries for help shown in his documentaries, from my education, and lived experience around the subject matter. With that said…………..”You can have all the luxuries of the world and still become lost in your identity and true, rooted connection.” Anthony built so many connections with his travels, but how can one really ever stay connected when your never rooted: feeling connection to just have it go away knowing you can never permanently obtain it.
Below are three clips I found to have the most significance, feel free to revisit these episode clips or other clips not listed and give your opinions.
Episode: Bhutan-Final Episode: Released: 6/24/2018
Around 10:00 minute: Anthony was having a meal with Bhutan’s Godfather of conservation discussing good fortune and the pursuit of happiness in his village and how his village all work together in harmony. Anthony made a comment about how he does not believe in that for the USA stating, “We don’t actually believe in that.” And made gestures to presume he was mind boggled that the Godfather’s Village was mostly happy and content. Then, in the picture which was the transition to the commercial shows a picture of Anthony looking like he was in deep thought and had a sad look on his face. The producers added a tone of troubling music to the picture.
Around 30:00 minute: Anthony was driving on a dirt road in the mountains and emphasized a narrative stating in awe, “it is considered enlightening and therapeutic to think about death for a few minutes a day.” The villager responded, “Yes.”
Episode: Berlin : Released 6/10/2018
Around 40:00 minute: The musician eating with Anthony stated, “People stay out of my hair and you can be invisible.” Anthony looked up very quickly when he heard the word invisible, then paused to display a deep thought stating,” That must be nice.”
Episode: Hong Kong: Released 6/3/2018
Right out of the gate, 0:20 minute: Anthony discusses himself falling in love in Asia and states,” it’s a gift, a dream…a curse…the best thing, the happiest thing, yet also, the loneliest thing in the world.” The treatment of the scene was depressing as he was saying this phrase in a depressing type of tone. They even film him sitting alone in pondering in a depressed posture.
Around 30:00 Minute: Anthony states, “All of us when travel, look at the places we go, the things we see through different eyes, and how we see them is shaped by our previous lives….the books we’ve read, the films we’ve seen, the baggage we carry.” Then, at the end of the show it is interesting how Anthony walks into the large crowd and then no one knows him.
What you can do……….”Learn what the suicide warning signs are, trust your intuition, and speak up.”
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Till Next Time,