Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Hotel worker rebounds after suicidal thoughts - Kadene Gray gets lifeline from painting

Published:Wednesday | October 14, 2020 | 12:11 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Kadene Gray shows off some of her pieces.
Kadene Gray shows off some of her pieces.
Kadene Gray shows off a few of her pieces.
Kadene Gray shows off a few of her pieces.

With the hardship and economic uncertainty caused by being laid off in March due to COVID-19, 29-year-old Kadene Gray, a resident of Montego Bay, St James, could not escape frequent suicidal thoughts.

Today, even though the thoughts reappear occasionally, she praises God and is thankful for her therapist, who has been helping her control her thinking.

Gray was called back to work last week, but while encouraging persons who have similar thoughts to “get help,” she told The Gleaner that she managed to use the time away from work to hone her skills as an artist.

The proud owner of Kadene Gray LLC, expressed joy at the fact that her paintings have been on display for sale in Fontana Pharmacy on Waterloo Road, Kingston, a rebound from the desolate place she found herself in months ago.

“I did art up to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate level. I was unemployed three times prior to COVID, so in those downtimes, I would do some paintings and just sell it to whoever was interested. Since COVID, I decided that I was going to start painting again because the hotel closed down in March and I wanted something to do.

“With the uncertainty that COVID-19 presented, I didn’t know what was going to happen with my work, and my money started running out. All the plans I had for myself, just like everyone else at the beginning of the year, all seemed like they were going downhill. That got me in a depressed state, so I had weeks of thinking of suicide.”

Gray shared that the suicidal thoughts started popping up in late May, which prompted her to seek counselling and to discuss it with a close friend.

During the time she was in counselling, Gray told The Gleaner that she was catapulted on a self-discovery journey, “where I was able to recognise where I was going wrong as an individual, and what was causing my depression”.


She explained that by the end of July, she began reflecting on her personal life and decided to bring out the hunger to create her artwork. She also received comfort by immersing herself into watching motivational videos.

“I have realised that a lot of persons were going through a similar thing and are holding on. Right now I can say I am better, but not 100 per cent, because last week I had suicidal thoughts, but I am in therapy and now I know how to manage those thoughts. Instead of being isolated, I would get up and dance or pray. God alone could have given me the strength,” she said.

Gray shared that her paintings seek to give persons access to affirmative and encouraging words, which she said are crucial

To anyone battling suicidal thoughts, Gray’s advice is not to hide your feelings from the people who really care.

“Having a shoulder to lean on helps. Depression doesn’t just go away overnight; you need help to go through the process. I wrote a vision and a mission statement for my life and I placed it somewhere where I can see it every day,” she said, hinting that others should do likewise.