In episode #81 of the Widowed AF podcast, Rosie Gill-Moss delves into the deeply emotional story of Anna Bignell, whose husband Rich took his own life after struggling with depression and the pressures of corporate life.
Anna met Rich in their early twenties and built a life marked by love, support, and shared values. They navigated life’s ups and downs together, including the birth of their twin daughters. Rich, a creative and hard-working individual, faced the pressures of a high-stress job while also dealing with bouts of depression and anxiety.
Anna recounts how Rich’s mental health deteriorated after he was made redundant during the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of his job, a significant part of his identity, deeply affected him. Despite his efforts to find new employment and his attempts at therapy and lifestyle changes, Rich struggled with the loss of self-worth and the fear of not being able to provide for his family.
Anna speaks about the challenges they faced during this period. She recalls Rich’s mood swings, his feelings of guilt and shame, and his increasing withdrawal from life. Despite his struggles, Rich maintained his love for his family and continued to be a caring father.
The story takes a tragic turn when Rich, overwhelmed by his mental health struggles, took his own life. Anna describes the shock and confusion following his death, the support she received from friends and family, and the challenge of explaining Rich’s death to their children.
Throughout the interview, Anna’s story highlights the complexities of mental health, the stigma surrounding it in the corporate world, and the profound impact it can have on individuals and their families. She discusses the importance of recognising and addressing mental health issues, the need for better support systems in the workplace, and the power of community and friendship in times of grief.
Anna’s story is a moving testament to the challenges of coping with loss, the importance of understanding mental health, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of enormous adversity.