Mindy McCready Suicide Creates Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Drew Backlash on Twitter


Image Courtesy of VH1

Image Courtesy of VH1

It’s been awhile. I’ve been pre-occupied with various projects– the latest of which is my first documentary film, “Because Of Xena.” But last night was different; last night I was pre-occupied with the news of Mindy McCready’s suicide, and the (mostly negative) reactions blowing up the Twitterverse.

Here’s the kicker–the reactions weren’t aimed at the troubled country star herself. The outpouring of negative reactions were aimed at Celebrity Rehab addiction specialist, Dr. Drew Pinsky.

I’ll admit, when I first heard of the tragic news, I retweeted the breaking news article with these words: “Another of @drdrew patients gone.” My intentions were not meant to be malicious however– not like the thousands of tweets which followed.

Here are just a few of  those tweets.

McCready Tweet

McCreadyTweet2McCreadyTweet3McCreadyTweet4

Dr. Drew has since been compared to Dr. Kevorkian.

The unflattering comparison was reported by Perez Hilton some 10 hours ago via washed up musician, Richard Marx. Hilton’s opening statement, “Whoa. This might be a bit harsh,” is 100% accurate. The slew of hateful comments directed at Dr. Drew, along with Marx’s Kevorkian comparison, are grossly unjust. The aforementioned accusations only prove how seriously uneducated society is when it comes to mental illness and drug addiction. It is because of this that stigma continues to linger in the 21st century.

What of those who are not celebrities? I hate to break it to you, but there are thousands of faces in the crowd suffering in silence.

Here are a few facts from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention— for those of you so inclined to learn.

  • Every 13.7 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide.
  • Nearly 1,000,000 people make a suicide attempt every year.
  • 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
  • Most people with mental illness do not die by suicide. (I.e. Accidental Overdose)
  • Recent data puts yearly medical costs for suicide at nearly $100 million (2005).
  • Men are nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women. Women attempt suicide 3 times as often as men.

Now here’s a sad truth: It wouldn’t have mattered whether it was Dr. Drew, Carl Jung, or Freud himself who treated Mindy McCready. The patient must be held accountable for their own actions. They must choose to continue treatment and follow doctors orders. Does this mean they will? Certainly not. That’s the price of mental illness itself and the stigma which follows behind it.

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Edge’s Retirement Big Loss for WWE


It’s official. WWE’s 14 year veteran, “The Rated R Superstar,” Edge, has left the building.

For months, various wrestling news sources had been gossiping about the 11-time World Champion’s future in the WWE. Most of them speculated that he would retire in 2012. But, on April 11, 2011, during WWE’s Monday Night Raw, 37-year-old Edge (Adam Copeland) shocked the WWE Universe when he walked (reluctantly) out to the ring to announce his forced retirement.

Die hard “Edge Heads” remember all to well the broken neck that nearly put him on the shelf in 2003. It was then that he had his first neck fusion surgery, a surgery that would keep him out of action for nearly a year. But Edge was not going  to stay down.

The by-product of Edge’s determination was no doubt due to his long-term love affair with the WWE. As a boy, Edge dreamed of becoming a WWE Superstar, and was voted “most likely to become WWE Champion” in high school. At home as a fan in the Toronto Skydome, Edge watched his hero, Hulk Hogan, battle it out with the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI. This epic event sealed the deal for him.

Edge’s resiliency comes from an additional place- where neck issues aren’t a foreign concept. According to WWE.com contributor, Ryan Murphy, Edge would injure his neck on several occasions as a kid, “doing everything from jumping off his kitchen table to falling face first down a hill.”

During his illustrious WWE career, Edge competed in a combined 19, record -breaking ladder, and tables, ladders and chairs matches (TLC.) For those of you who may be unfamiliar, TLC matches are one of the most brutal matches the WWE has concocted. Edge, along with former tag team partner Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz, were innovators of the TLC. But, they weren’t just innovators, this tag team trio were arguably the greatest in the WWE’s now dead tag team division; take a look in the WWE’s history book, you’ll find Edge & Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley’s secured themselves a prestigious spot.

Ironically, Edge had talked about the toll 19 ladder matches had taken on his body before Wrestlemania 27. The Raw following Wrestlemania 27, Edge delivered his emotionally charged retirement speech. Here is some of what he had to say:

A lot of people think that the WWE doesn’t hurt, that what we do is somewhat smoke and mirrors- and I wish that were true.  But anybody in that locker room, anybody that has ever stepped foot in here, anybody that’s ever laced up a pair of boots, they know that’s not the case. Eight years ago, I broke my neck. I had spinal fusion surgery…because of that surgery, I knew that I was wrestling on borrowed time from that point on… The last little while, I’ve been in a lot of pain- I’ve been losing feeling in my arms. So, I passed a strength test and all of those things and I made it through Wrestlemania- but, the WWE wanted me to go get more tests, and thankfully I did. But, the MRI tests showed that I have to retire. Trust me it’s not my choice, the doctors have told me that I got no choice- and thankfully they found out, because I’m not going to end up in a wheelchair now.

Note: To see the rest of Edge’s retirement speech, go here.

As Mike Mooneyham, from the Post and Courier said, “It’s more than a little fortuitous that doctors detected the problem before Edge’s next big scheduled bout — a ladder match with Alberto Del Rio at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.”

Edge also talked about not wanting a day to come where he wouldn’t be able to get back up in a match. Had he continued to wrestle, this may have been the outcome. Some of you may remember Darren Drozdov (A.K.A. Puke, Droz) from the WWE’s Attitude Era in the late 90’s. Droz became a quadriplegic due to a neck injury which he sustained during a match with D’Lo Brown in 1999.

With the fates seemingly on his side, Edge took his final bow at the following Smackdown, where he relinquished his championship belt to an arena filled with “Thank You Edge” and “Thank You Mom” chants.

But, how does the WWE replace one of the top superstars of the decade, a man who has amassed an astonishing 3o championship titles? With a roster that’s already depleted, it makes you wonder what their next move is going to be.

There is one other man on the roster who has the ability to be a great champion- Edge’s long time friend, Christian.

Here’s hoping he takes the belt at the Extreme Rules PPV, where he’ll face off against the man who will be throwing Edge a “farewell party” tonight on Smackdown.

Another One Bites the Dust- Hollywood in Hades Pt.2


Hollywood in Hades

A continuation of Pt. 1- “Hollywood in Hades” .

Let’s take a look at a few of the more high brow celebrity deaths from 2009-2010 (so far) which have related in some form or another, to prescription drug use or abuse, lifestyle and suicide.

1. The “King of Pop” Michael Jackson– Died June 25, 2009. Official cause of death ruled a homicide (although, my belief is, at some point the person taking, or requesting the drugs, must be held accountable as well) caused by acute propofol intoxication, along with other sedatives such as ativan and valium. (Commonly used for anxiety disorders.)

2. Popular actress Brittany Murphy– Found unconscious in the bathroom of her shared apartment with husband Simon Monjack, and mother, Sharon Murphy, on December 20, 2009. She was pronounced dead on the scene after frantic CPR efforts on behalf of her husband failed. Murphy’s death was officially ruled an accident, caused by the combined effects of community acquired pneumonia and multiple drug intoxication. Drugs included were over the counter flu medications and hydrocodone, (a schedule I narcotic pain-killer) all of which registered at elevated levels in her toxicology report. Murphy was just 30 years old.

3Socialite and Johnson & Johnson heiress, Casey Johnson– Found dead in her California home on January 4, 2010, apparently having been in a diabetic coma for days before her demise. Johnson’s official cause of death was caused by diabetic ketoacidosis, the result of a lack of insulin and high blood sugar. In other words, she died of self neglection. Johnson was a regular in the LA party scene and struggled with drug addiction throughout her 30 years of life.

4. English fashion designer Alexander McQueen–  Named designer of the year four times, and  beloved by many in the world of fashion for his “dramatic statement pieces,” McQueen was found dead in his London home on February 11, 2010. According to the Huffington Post, “A bereaved Alexander McQueen left a note, then hanged himself in his apartment on the eve of his mother’s funeral, a coroner’s inquest said Wednesday, giving the cause of the fashion designer’s death as asphyxiation and hanging.” Other sources also mentioned a recent break up with a man whose name he tattooed on himself.

5Best known as “Boner” from the 80’s sitcom “Growing Pains,” Andrew Koenig– According to People.com, on February 16, 2010, Walter Koenig (actor and father of Andrew) received a disturbing note from his son, who was supposed to arrive back home in LA on February 14th after a trip to Canada. He never returned. On February 25, Andrew Koenig’s body was found at Vancouver’s Stanley Park by friends. Despite the Canadian police department’s decision not to release a cause of death, (coroner’s investigation pending) Andrew’s father, Walter, appeared at a press conference with tears in his eyes declaring that his son took his own life. Mr. Koenig had good reason to claim suicide as his son’s cause of death. Left behind was a long trail of clues implicating  Andrew’s own hand in his death.  He had also battled severe depression for a number of years, but chose not to continue treatment for his disorder(s).

6Michael Blosil, son of Marie Osmond, one half of the famous Osmond Family– Just one day after Andrew Koenig’s body was found, on February 26, 2010, Marie Osmond’s son, Michael, committed suicide by jumping to his death from his 8th floor apartment. He left a note intending his suicide, and labeled his life long battle with severe depression as the reason. Blosil had also been in a drug rehabilitation center at age 16. He was just 18 years old at the time of his death.

There is a clear and visible pattern here that should be easily recognized -but, hidden within the pattern are shades of elusiveness, undetectable by the naked eye.

Here are some important facts that are widely dismissed by the media and other such outlets.

  • According to the National Drug Intelligence Center , “Many chronic drug abusers often simultaneously suffer from a serious mental disorder.”  Medical professionals call this a co-occurring disorder, or a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis can also be used in conjunction with a person suffering from more than one mental disorder.
  • Co-occurring disorders are more common than people think. A 2002 survey estimated “4.0 million adults met the criteria for both a serious mental illness and substance abuse.”

The recent spate of celebrity suicides spawned Psychcentral.com to dedicate a few blogs to the subject, which include some startling statistics. For example, suicide remains the third-leading cause of death among older teenagers in the United States. Young men are four times more at risk than young women.

To put it another way, “over 4,000 teens and young adults take their lives every year here in the U.S. (an additional 26,000+ adults do so.”)

Another blog on Psychcentral.com, written by fellow blogger, Christine Stapleton, hits a real hot spot in regards to the media and their aiding in the negative stigmatization of mental illness, drug abuse and suicide.

Mental illness is not discriminatory. Whether you’re a celebrity, a regular joe/jane, poor, rich, black or white, religious or atheist, doesn’t matter. When mental illness and suicide are covered in the media, it shouldn’t only apply to celebrities- or, as Ms. Stapleton says, “when a suicide affects the public- for instance, when a tortured soul jumps off an overpass during rush hour and brings traffic to a halt.” It shouldn’t have to take a celebrity, or a shockingly gruesome, self-inflicted death to grab the media’s attention. But, since it does, it should be used appropriately.

The question that remains now is, how many highly publicized deaths are going to have to take place before media outlets address the real issue?

Like several physical illnesses, mental illness does not yet have a cure, but it can be managed.

Another One Bites the Dust- Hollywood in Hades Pt. 1


Hollywood in Hades

Famed 80’s heart-throb Corey Haim, actor in films such as License to Drive”, “Prayer of the Rollerboys”, Dream a Little Dream I & II”, (my three favorite Haim films) and cult classic “The Lost Boys,” dead at 38.

This has been the buzz around Tinsel Town and entertainment media outlets since he collapsed in his apartment in North Hollywood on March 10th, 2010. Haim was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank, LA around 3 A.M. in the morning.

Of course, the first speculations on Haim’s death were related to a drug overdose because of his public and storied past with drug addiction. Haim himself has spoken quite openly about his struggles. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Haim acknowledged his battle with addiction back in 2004 to a British tabloid, and continued to speak about it up until his untimely death.

“I was working on ‘Lost Boys’ when I smoked my first joint,” Haim once told the Sun. “I did cocaine for about a year and a half, then it led to crack.”

Haim had also been in and out of drug rehabilitation centers for years, according to other sources. In rehabilitation he was put on prescription sedatives and antipsychotics by a psychiatrist.

“I started on the downers, which were a hell of a lot better than the uppers because I was a nervous wreck,” Haim had said.

Haim had also confessed to having problems with Valium (a sedative used for anxiety) and Soma (a muscle relaxant) during a taping of A& E’s reality t.v. show, “The Two Corey’s,” featuring himself and Corey Feldman. (His best friend and former co-worker on multiple films.) And- according to TMZ.com,  four prescription bottles, Valium, Soma, Vicodin, (a schedule I narcotic pain-killer) and Haloperidol (an anti-psychotic) were prescribed to Haim just a few days before his death.

Since then, however, two other significant pieces of information have been released.

 After the initial autopsy was performed, the LA County’s Coroner’s Office determined that Haim had pulmonary congestion, an enlarged heart, and fluid in his lungs- the former two being symptoms of pulmonary congestion. Although, the Coroner has not determined this to be the cause of death. The case will be deferred until toxicology reports are complete.

Adding to the bizarre-o-meter, on March 12th, TMZ.com broke the news on a fresh lead regarding an investigation of “an illegal and massive prescription drug ring.”

But- Haim’s death is not the core issue.

See Pt. 2 coming soon for some shocking revelations.

Top Ten Songs That Describe Your Life-Pt. 2 (With Videos)


Alas! The long awaited sequel to “Top Ten Songs That Describe Your Life-Pt. 1.”  Part one was a list made up of songs that friends, family, and lovers associate with you. This list, however, is the list of songs that read like the storybook of your life- the type of songs that induce flashbacks, so to speak. Everyone has a soundtrack to their life. If my life ever became a movie, the soundtrack would look something like this…What would yours look like?

1. Pink, Family Portrait- Unfortunately, like many adolescents (to adults) in the world today, my family is the perfect picture of dysfunction. The song and video speak for itself.

 2. Pink, Don’t Let Me Get Me- Since mid semester of 7th grade, I’ve known who I was, what my morals were, and that I was not going to conform to anyone’s standards but my own. This song, and the video, say it perfectly-there isn’t much else that needs to be said.

3. Radiohead, Creep- By the time I reached my teens, I had seen and experienced far more than I should have. I was involuntarily forced to grow up faster than most kids my age- childhood traumas and such. You’ve heard the same sad account in many a memoir. Most unfortunate, is the fact that many kids feel this way, with or without childhood trauma.

4. Candlebox, You- Being an empath is an exhausting  job, especially at a young age.  I went through a period from the ages of 15-17 where I was a walking time bomb, but by 17, I had reached the point where enough was enough. The only downer is becoming  jaded at such a young age-it’s not great.

5. Nine Inch Nails, Hurt- This is, quite possibly, the most personal of all the songs on the list.  The lyrical genius of lead singer Trent Reznor and his uncanny ability to relate to his fans on such an emotional level is a sheer delight, no matter how depressing the subject matter may be. For over ten years I’ve struggled with these words, and it seems to get progressively worse over the years…

6. Linkin Park, Crawlling- Another personal song. This is the kind of song that epitomizes the “this song was written about me!” mantra.

7. Faith No More, Epic- An epic song indeed, this song has somewhat of a political agenda behind it. It’s also the type of song that leaves you forming your own conclusions.

8. Tears for Fears, Mad World- This video is from the movie “Girl Interrupted”, a fitting song for a fitting scenario. I relate closely to both the song, and the movie.

9. Sia, Breathe Me- This song is probably the most meaningful song on the list because it affects me as an individual, and connects me to a person who I loved and lost to death’s cruel hand of fate. The video serves as a bonus feature. It is a grossly accurate picture of the way my brain works. Two words…. racing thoughts.

10. Tori Amos, Precious Things- This particular song has been a long time favorite of mine and it’s one of those songs that give you goose bumps nearly every-time you hear it-that is of course if you can directly feel the emotion behind the song itself. Like Trent Reznor, Tori Amos has a tremendous amount of valency when it comes  to connecting with her audience. To see her perform live is truly a gift given from the heavens above. See for yourself…