In case you missed it, country star Mindy McCready was found dead over the weekend at the age of 37, the victim of an apparent suicide. When I was (briefly) a college student in Nashville in the late 1990s, Mindy was extremely popular and her hit “Guys Do It All The Time” was all over the radio. Well, I’m a northerner by birth, so living in Nashville meant learning how to tolerate country music, because it was inescapable. I saw Mindy perform at the university one time, but was never any huge fan. I didn’t know much about her until she appeared on “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.” By that time, the hits had stopped and she had gained notoriety for her troubled life.
We know how hard it can be to seek mental health treatment just being the regular shlubs we are. No TV cameras, no reporters, just runs to Wal-Mart to buy ice cream in our pajamas like everyone else. (What? You don’t do that? Me, either…) We’re afraid of what the people in our fairly small ring of friends and family will think. Imagine trying to get help in the public eye! Would you bother to try, or just be too afraid of the fallout? Here’s what Dr. Drew Pinsky had to say about Mindy’s fears:
“Her biggest fear was the stigma of doing [getting more help] and what people would think if she, God forbid, took care of herself. And this to me is the most distressing part of this story. She is a lovely woman, we have lost her, and it didn’t have to go down like this.”
We watch people like McCready on these celebrity help shows, and you root for them. Sometimes – like in the case of Charlie Sheen – you get the occasional chuckle out of the troubled things they say. But they’re real people, with real problems, and fame doesn’t give you magical self-healing powers. It’s sad that this is one of the few things that connects the “regular” people to the celebrities: the fear of being ridiculed and dismissed because of a medical problem.