‘That system is not a system. It’s broken and we need a new one.’
TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with mental illness and suicide. Its content may be triggering for some readers.
Courtney Harris was just 28-years-old when she took her own life.
From the outside, the jewellery designer’s life was a picture of perfection.
She was the recipient of the 2013 Business Initiative Grant, and her jewellery line had developed a celebrity following including Kate Hudson, Miranda Kerr and Lily Allen.
Harris’ social media accounts were dotted with images of happiness; she was surrounded by friends, on the beach, with her red dog, celebrating birthdays with family members.
On Triple J’s Hack last night, her sister Taylor described Courtney as a “successful, high functioning, creative jewellery designer and she’d built a public profile that seemingly projected a perfect life.”
And she was all of those things.
But through all the success and the accolades, Courtney was battling.
Since her teenage years, Courtney had struggled with serious mental health issues. Taylor recounted her sister’s deep depression and her mood swings, and the effect they had on Courtney and their family.
Courtney’s friends and family had lived every high and every low of her 12 year battle with Bipolar II, a condition that had taken years to be diagnosed.
“Courts tried really hard to mask, to overcome her illness for the past 12 years.”
In 2012, Courtney attempted suicide.
When Taylor talked to her sister about her feelings, Courtney said: “I just don’t want to be here. You have to let me go.”
It was an idea too much to bear for Taylor.
“Mum and I will not be able to live without you. We can’t live without you,” she told her sister, “But in the end, that didn’t keep her here.”