One of Anthony Bourdain's final interviews showed just how lucky the travel host felt he was, offering a momentary glimpse through the depression that plagued him.
Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room in France on Friday morning. The long-time travel and food journalist had battled with substance abuse, depression and anxiety for decades. His passing is believed to have been a suicide, though the investigation is ongoing.
In the days since, Bourdain's friends and fans have taken to social media, leading a public discussion on mental health and suicide. Many preconceptions about depression have been challenged, and Bourdain's followers have had to reckon with the fact that the seemingly joyful person onscreen had a certain kind of darkness bubbling just under the surface.
While Bourdain my have suffered from depression on a chemical level, that didn't stop him from understanding just how good his life was most of the time. In October, he gave one of his final interviews with BUILD. In it, he discussed the improbable perfection of his job making Parts Unknown for so many years.
"So, the ability to tell a story is creatively satisfying," he said. "To be able to focus exclusively on people and places that interest me -- I mean, you know, most people in media, the boss tells them: 'you're doing a segment on the rutabaga shaped like Nixon today,' or the heart-warming story of somebody that you don't care about at all. I don't live by those rules. I've been really fortunate to do what I want, and, in an almost evangelical way, talk about people doing things I care about."
Bourdain's words serve as a reminder that the battle against depression is an internal one, and isn't necessarily tied to the objective circumstances of a person's life. In the wake of his death, a clip from his show began circulating online, showing the time he visited a psychoanalyst in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"I feel kind of like a freak," he said, "and I feel very isolated. I communicate for a living but I'm terrible at communicating with people I care about."
He spoke about the way a very small disruption in his mood, like a bad hamburger at an airport, could send him into a spiral that was nearly impossible to pull out of.0comments
"There's the evil hamburger that sets me off, suddenly I'm super depressed for days. It's like that with the good stuff too. I have a couple of happy minutes there where I'm thinking, 'ahh. Life is pretty good.'"
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).