Mindy McCready: Addiction, Mental Illness And Suicide

1358256839_mindy-mccready-articleSuicide is such a tragic occurrence in life, something that always surprises me a little, even when it’s expected, such as in the case of Chris Domer.

Even more shocking are the instances when it’s not expected, even if the person has had a troubling past, such as Mindy McCready.

Mindy McCready was a 37 year old country music star who apparently committed suicide this past Sunday afternoon by shooting herself in the head on her front porch. Besides being a country music star, more importantly, McCready was the mother of two boys, including a ten month old infant.

It’s hard to imagine the stress/circumstances that would cause a mother of two to want to take her own life, so I thought it would be a good idea to examine some of the stressors McCready was under.

Recently, her fiance and the father of her ten month old infant, record producer David Wilson died of an apparent suicide. This tragedy in itself could have been enough to push McCready into a suicidal state. Here is the father of her infant child, now dead, someone she had planned to spend the rest of her life with, and now he’s abandoned her.

On top of that, whenever someone close to someone commits suicide (and often they don’t even have to be that close personally), it makes it easier for that person to think about and even commit suicide themselves if they are already in a fragile state. That’s why having a family member who has committed suicide makes a person more at risk for committing suicide and why communities and schools often experience clusters of suicide after someone in that community or school has killed themselves. Perhaps the death of her infant’s baby’s father made it easier for McCready to end her own life.

On top of that traumatic experience, McCready also suffered from addiction and mental illness, both of which increases a persons likelihood of attempting suicide.

McCready had two previous suicide attempts in 2005, including attempting to overdose on drugs and alcohol. She was found unconscious in her hotel room and hospitalized. Then later that September while pregnant with her first son, she attempted suicide again by overdosing on anti-depressants. In 2008 McCready was also treated for an apparent suicide attempt after slashing her wrists. She was hospitalized at least once more after an overdose, or what may have been a bad reaction to some Darvocet apparently given to her by her mother.

Her battle with addiction and mental illness was often public. She appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Pinsky and on The View. She spoke with Dr. Drew about the stigma she felt from the media and her fans about being in rehab, a topic he discussed on CNN after her suicide:

“Her biggest fear was the stigma of doing so 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.”

McCready was also dealing with an ongoing custody battle that was often nasty and very public. Her ex-husband who is her first son’s father, Billy McKnight, wanted primary custody of their son and filed motions in court to have McCready submit to drug and alcohol testing and also undergo a psychological evaluation.

Despite her struggles with addiction, mental illness and an often rocky personal life, McCready still tried to remain positive. On her fan page in January 2012 she wrote:

“I haven’t had a hit in almost a decade. I’ve spent my fortune, tarnished my public view and made myself the brunt of punch line after punch line. I’ve been beaten, sued, robbed, arrested, jailed, and evicted. But I’m still here. With a handful of people that I know and trust, a revived determination, and both middle fingers up in the air, I’m ready. I’ve been here before. I’m a fighter. I’m down, but I’ll never be out.”

Perhaps the death of her infant’s father, a man she called (after his dead), her soulmate and life partner, was the final straw that broke the fighter in her. They both apparently killed themselves by shooting themselves in the head.

It could have been her addiction. After all, she had left treatment for substance abuse early and was reluctant to re-enter treatment due to the stigma she had faced in the media and with fans.

Chances are, it was a combination of everything: addiction, mental illness, dealing with the recent death of her fiance, a custody battle and having an overall bleak outlook on her future.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a usually temporary problem.

It hurts when we lose anyone to suicide and addiction and it’s sad that we have lost yet another bright star. Like Dr. Drew said, it didn’t have to go down like this.