Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mindy McCready; a sad but inevitable end!

     In 2006, while speaking to a group of nursing students, one of them asked me about a country western singer named Mindy McCready and her increasingly maladaptive behavior. Since I had never heard of her, the student went on to describe her mental health and drug issues, and how it derailed her once promising career. It was on that day I began to pay close attention to this famous artist.
     Tragically, with all that I learned about her life, it came as no shock when I recently discovered that she finally succeeded in killing herself with a gunshot wound to her head. Immediately, I pulled out a file that I have accumulated on her, and went straight to a story from July 18, 2006. It was one that discussed her recent arrest for a DUI. On the bottom, I made an ominous prediction when I wrote, "this will have a bad outcome". Even back then, I believed that she would die prematurely from either a drug overdose or by her own hands. I  hoped that I would be wrong, but with her outward behavior, I knew that was unlikely.
     A close examination of her life is what made that prediction so easy to make. She hit the pinnacle of her career at a remarkably young age and from that point, began her downhill spiral. Her first album took Nashville by storm, but she was unable to sustain her success. After that, mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic abuse and family dysfunction followed her every move.
      When others reflect back on her life, they discover that she was a metaphor for being "used and abused." As a teenager, she had an alleged affair with former major league baseball star Roger Clemons, a married father of two. Though he denies those claims, Roger Clemons can best be described as having questionable integrity. Add to that arrests for drugs issues, DUI's, prescription fraud, plus she was once beaten so severely by a boyfriend that he was charged with attempted murder, and her demise became quite clear.  Embarrassingly, another former boyfriend released an unauthorized sex tape of her, and with so much misery accumulating, there was now a recipe for disaster.
     It is common knowledge that all the love in the world does not cure a chemical imbalance, so it can be added that fame and wealth also fail as a treatment mechanism. No matter what Mindy McCready accomplished, she could not escape her inner demons, which were always present and grew stronger over time. However, she did not go down without a fight, as on more than one occasion, she checked herself into rehabilitation to try and control her condition. However, she could never overcome what was torturing her, and apparently, she did not continue her treatment as prescribed.
     Another person who did manipulate her was one that used therapy as a rouse to entice her and others on television. She was exploited on a show called "Celebrity Rehab" with someone named Dr. Drew. He brought her and others on a show to pour their hearts out as a way to exorcise their demons. Sadly, it was more  exploitation for ratings than anything else.  It bears mentioning that five individuals who appeared on that show over a two year period have ended their lives by suicide, and the idiot doctor still defends his methods. Those comments alone are proof that stupidity knows no bounds.
     It should come as no surprise that if a person attempts suicide, that individual is highly likely to try it again, and she contributed to that statistic. There were four other documented attempts, three by pills and one by slashing her wrists. All ended with short stays in a rehab facility, and failed to stop Mindy from continuing her degenerating condition. That alone is evidence that she was planning her exit strategy years before she finally succeeded. It was as if, like many others, she kept reaching for help and was never able to find that metaphorical life preserver.
     It is difficult to see what was the last stressor that caused her to end her life. It is evident that the death of her boyfriend a month before in a similar fashion was the final tipping point, but the seeds of this destruction were planted many years ago. It must be added that as of now, the police are treating his death as suspicious, and Mindy McCready was questioned several times. Though it appears to be a suicide, this impression of being involved with possible foul play could have contributed to her already fragile emotional state.
     One point must be made. Most suicides are not the result of one specific incident, rather, it is the culmination of a series of events. Keep in mind these factors can be real or fictitious because that person is cursed with clouded thinking. Over time, these events tend to add up until the individual can find no way to end their suffering, which leads to such tragic outcomes. The best comparison is a boxer getting battered with body punches until it finally breaks them down, rather than one large knockout punch.
     One other issue bears mentioning. It is not common knowledge that the first two weeks after leaving a hospital for a mental health crisis are a critical time. This is a period when there is a high risk for suicide, and there are many theories for this phenomenon. My impression is that a hospital provides a protective shield from reality; the walls are there to stop the demons from invading the mind of its targets. Once that person leaves the hospital, it is as if time stood still on the outside, and the emotional malignancy that drove them to seek treatment is there waiting to resume its attack. If the individual is not prepared to accept  this realism, the truth can be overwhelming, and have catastrophic results.  It appears that this could have contributed to her death as she killed herself 11 days after her release.
     Society tends to judge people who die of suicide in a demeaning fashion. People have already judged Mindy McCready unfairly and with condemnation. I have read where some said that she wasted her life and threw it all away, meaning her fame and talent. What these individuals fail to understand is that addiction and mental illness are sadistic and traumatic conditions. Like everyone else afflicted, she had to wake up every morning and start her day by battling her inner pain. It is a struggle that cannot be understood by anyone who has not suffered as many people do so in silence.
     In the end, she joined an unending line of people who finish their lives as a way to escape the pain they suffer. I have written about many, a young girl from Vermillion Ohio, a successful businessman from Elyria, and the son of a Super Bowl winning head coach. Tragically, this list will continue to grow, until we as a society begin to develop a concerted effort and investment in treating and understanding these disorders. So far societies track record is decidedly limited, and the future does not appear any brighter. Rest in Peace Mindy McCready!


  1. Jessica took her life 11 days after she was discharged from the hospital. What a coincidence.

  2. I agree that as a society we do need to establish a concerted effort in dealing with these issues. I believe the health care administration needs to incorporate an intern program to do home mental health care. These professionals would go to a clients home to check on them and call them by phone. This especially needs to be done after a client is released from in-patient care and after court dates. I believe this would drastically cut down on suicides. Thanks for your paper, LeighEllen Bane:)