Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday Thirteen

Robin William's suicide saddened me. It did not surprise me because I'd read about his issues with addiction and depression. I am glad that this seems to have opened a dialogue about mental illness, but unfortunately we have become a nation that talks, not one that does. So I doubt that any appropriate actions will take place. The government will not send more money to mental health facilities, schools will not set up screenings for depression, nor will other appropriate interventions take place. We will talk about it until the next media event comes and then, just like when the murders in Sandy Hook forced a dialogue about gun control, we will move on and do nothing.

I have no doubt that on the same day Robin Williams killed himself, so did someone else. That person, being just a regular nobody, will be grieved by a few. I'm not saying that is right or wrong, but I do wonder about the hero worship that goes on in our society. Shouldn't every life have value?

Here is a list of 13 famous women who have committed suicide. I took these from a very long list on Wikipedia. I was only able to get into the "Ds" before I stopped at 13. While the main list at the link is largely dominated by males, I believe the myth that women seldom commit suicide is just that - folklore. I think women commit suicide as frequently as men, but there is a greater stigma about it for females. Also, it's a patriarchal world where only the men matter, so their deaths have always made the headlines.

1. Gia Allemand (2013), American actress, model, and reality television contestant, known for her appearances on the shows, The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love and Bachelor Pad, hanging.

2. Diane Arbus (1971), American photographer, overdosed on pills and slashed wrists

3. May Ayim (1996), German author, jumped from 13th floor of a Berlin building

4. Nikki Bacharach (2007), Daughter of Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson, suffocated using plastic bag and helium

5. Amelie "Melli" Beese (1925), German pioneer aviatrix, gunshot

6. Mary Kay Bergman (1999), American voice actress, shotgun

7. Clara Bloodgood (1907), American Broadway actress; gunshot.

8. Isabella Blow (2007), English magazine editor, and muse to fashion designer Alexander McQueen, poisoning

9. Cheyenne Brando (1995), Tahitian model/actress, and the daughter of Marlon Brando by his third wife Tarita Teriipaia, hanging.

10. Christine Chubbuck (1974), television reporter, shot herself during a live news broadcast

11. Cleopatra (30 BC), Queen of Egypt, inducing a snake to bite her.

12. Patricia Cutts (1974), English film and television actress. Died from barbiturate poisoning at her London flat, aged 48

13. Dalida (1987), French-Italian singer, an overdose of barbiturates.

I didn't know who most of these people were, I confess. Other women suicides I noted: Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Margaux Hemingway, Dana Plato, and Anne Sexton. There were many other female names that I did not recognize. Janis Joplin wasn't on this list, but she died of a drug overdose. Supposedly it was accidental, but we'll never know. Certainly she had an addiction problem if she died accidentally.

Depression is a difficult disease. It's an illness just like the flu, but it affects your mind. We have a terrible stigma about mental illness in this country and it's time we realize that people who suffer from mental illness need help, not incarceration or shunning. Many of our homeless are mentally ill. We are not a humane nation when it comes to caring for those who cannot care for themselves.

I for one would like to see that change.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 356th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. Good post. I'm with you. Robin William's death is sad and hopeful it will increase our awareness about depression. Now we just have to reach out and care for one another. :)

  2. In our close community we had one man and one woman who committed suicide, both dealing with depression. I've dealt with it, and anxiety, too but, although I didn't want to live, I also never thought about killing myself. I didn't know that about Cleopatra. I believe Abbie Hoffman was a man, a hippie revolutionary whose book I read in the late '60s: Steal This Book.

    1. You're right about Abbie Hoffman, I just recognized the name and didn't think about it. I removed it. Thanks for clearing that up! I didn't know that about Cleopatra, either!

  3. I knew someone in high school who committed suicide, only a couple weeks before he graduated. Sometimes it's easy to miss the signs, especially when the person puts on a good front and is full of talk about the future (in this case, plans for graduation and college). The only one I knew on your 13 list was Cleopatra and yes, I knew it had been suicide, but I did recognize those listed in the blurb below your list. My T13

  4. let me see ... tough topic - i had 2 classman before my graduating class that did commit suicide. it was the talk of the gossip wheel for weeks, years. we had 2 parents that were in my graduating class that commit suicide. the lady had MS, the man had a tough work life apparently. it is so hard to understand & make sense to someone (to me) ??! if life is so tough & you are without money ... why not ask for help? why is not being perfect such a bad thing? i don't get it ... & i am afraid i never will. seem so silly. we need to feel we can & should ask for help when we need it.

    you always know so much. a brain of such info. ( :

  5. We went forward for a while in mental illness help then way backward political funding ..all ours are closed here you have to got 80 miles away


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