Life. Many seem to have it. Many more seem to want it. And many seem to let go of it. Suicide. Suicide is a word that is feared by many people. Even though suicide may take more courage and energy than the lifetime struggles of a person, suicide is usually seen in the Western parts of the world as being one of the last, cowardly resorts to give up the idea of dealing with hardships in life.
Today I want to bring up the question of how we deal with someone who has attempted suicide1. To be precise, I want you to think about your behavior over celebrities attempting suicide. Why do you, or others, sympathize with celebrities who try to commit suicide, and why do you, or others, laugh, ridicule and classify as psychotic almost all the non-celebrities who try to commit suicide?
Is a suicide attempt by a celebrity different from other suicide attempts? Do you treat celebrities who attempted suicide the same way you would treat a non-celebrity hospital patient who attempted suicide? Why, and why not?
Why do we frown over suicide in general?
At its core, every suicide attempt usually tries to serve one purpose: to end one’s own life. In our societies, while ending someone else’s life is legal, allowed and even promoted as a preference in many situations2, ending our own life is usually frowned upon and considered an abnormal behavior. At the same time, however, it seems that we try to react differently to a famous, rich person trying to commit suicide, compared to the way we would react finding out that our poor neighbor or classmate attempted suicide.When your friend, an online person or your neighbor talks about wanting to commit suicide, you may immediately assume that they are having a psychological and nervous breakdown. However, when someone like Megan Fox talks about suicide and mental insecurities, we usually start sympathizing and even start wanting to associate ourselves more with such a person. Mischa Barton was forced into suicide watch recently, by her friends. Would you, now, start treating Mischa differently and think she is 100% psychotic? How about the idea that Lady Gaga is “romanticizing suicide” and that she is trying to show suicide as being kind of “artsy”? Would you look at suicide in a different light when such media celebrities are involved?
Why is it that a non-celebrity cannot walk around a party, head up high, after an attempted suicide, but we glorify, praise and pay to watch celebrities walk around with heads up high after their attempted suicide? Online, we run into similar issues, regardless of the celebrity or non-celebrity status. Recently, I posted an article called “Thought: I want to commit online suicide.” Because of that, I received numerous phone calls and texts in the offline, real world. Among the many interesting reactions, one business associate asked me “Would this affect your work or our project time line in any manner?” All of that made me realize even more as to how everyone focuses on the negative reaction people should have to suicide, instead of the actual reaction one may feel without considering the society rules and norms into the actual feelings. What is it about the concept of suicide that, when presented, results in almost similar reactions depending on the venues and people it involves?
Could it be that we usually follow the stereotypical society trends when dealing with topics like suicide and celebrities? Could it be that because of our affiliation with wanting to be normal in the society, the stereotypical trait of worshiping celebrities takes priority over the idea of hating the concept of wanting to attempt suicide?
Random List Of Celebrities You May Worship Who Attempted Suicide
It may be easy to overlook the fact that someone not famous may have a character outside of their suicidal interests, the same way we may tend to overlook the fact that a celebrity tried to commit suicide. Similarly, we may simply overlook that someone may have tried to commit suicide and may have nothing going on in their life, but that they may believe certain reasons for such trends in their life to be true for their case.
To help understand how we may allow the celebrity status of a person overshadow the fact that they tried to commit suicide, I present to you the following random list of famous people who have attempted suicide in the past:
- Owen Wilson. Tried by slashing wrists in 2007.
- Princess Diana
- Halle Berry. Tried by gasing herself in 1996.
- Elizabeth Taylor.
- Drew Barrymore. Tried by slashing her wrist at age 14 in 1989.
- Gary Coleman.
- Mike Tyson
- Donna Summer
- Drew Carey. Tried twice, by drug overdose in 1976 and 1978.
- Peter Fonda
- Billy Joel. Tried by drinking furniture polish in 1970.
- Jennifer O’Neil
- Elton John
- Johnny Cash. Tried by drug overdose in 1968.
- Charlie Parker
- Michael Jackson
- Vanilla Ice. Threatened suicide while on a 911 call in 2008.
- Britney Spears
- Jean Wallace. Tried twice by sleeping pills in 1946 and with a knife in 1949.
Because of the fact that the people above have attempted suicide in the past, do you respect them less now? Do you respect them more because of their suicide attempts? Will your attitude towards any of the above people now change in any manner, because of finding out or knowing that they once tried to end their life?
Are you more sympathetic towards suicide attempts made by celebrities compared to suicidal attempts made by non-celebrities?Do you look at celebrities attempting suicide with a forgiving character? Would you treat a neighbor or a family member, if they are non-celebrities and tried to commit suicide, the same way you would treat Owen Wilson? Would you not care about your wife or husband trying suicide, the same way you and many people may not care about Halle Berry or Johnny Cash attempting suicide?
What is your view on this matter? Can you think of other celebrities who have attempted suicide? Do you know someone who attempted suicide? Have you thought of committing suicide yourself before and faced any of the stereotypes or trends mentioned above?
What do you think?
Do the trends and actual behavior of sympathizing with celebrities who attempted suicide tell us that it may simply be the society values and stereotypes that cause us to look at the concept of suicide with our eyes closed? If we can overlook the fact that a human being tried to commit suicide because that human being was and is a celebrity, does that mean we can come up with other qualities or labels, or trends and observations, including a change in our own thinking, that can allow us to respect and treat everyone who attempted suicide the way we would want to respect and treat everyone who has not attempted suicide?
Please let me know what you think in the comments below. Thank you for reading. I really appreciate it.
Footnotes allow me to add information & more personal notes to bottom of articles without disrupting much the flow of the main content. If you have any questions or comments about this footnote or footnotes in general, please contact me or leave a comment below. Thank you.
- Someone who has attempted suicide is a person who has tried to end their life, and because of different reasons, is still alive. Those reasons could include unsuccessful ways of trying to kill one’s self, or being stopped in the middle of a suicide by someone else. [↩]
- Killing someone in an armed robbery, war in Iraq, Civil War, World War I & II, etc [↩]