L’Wren Scott Did Not Commit Suicide, She Was Killed by Affluenza

 

L’Wren Scott, fashion designer and girlfriend of Mick Jagger hung herself in an exclusive Chelsea apartment last week, creating shockwaves within the fashion industry and celebrity circles. It was later revealed that Scott was $6 million in debt and was on the brink of shutting down her fashion empire before she took her own life.

While it is obvious Scott was responsible for taking her own life, there is another culprit at large that isn’t so easy to define, but is ultimately responsible for killing her long before her time.

Scott lived in a world filled with luxury, status and expectation, a lethal combination that her fragile sense of self was clearly incapable of handling.  From what we know about the last few months of her life, rather than accept her professional failures, she let the shame destroy her. As the Telegraph reported:

Her close friend and fashion critic of the New York Times, Cathy Horyn, has said that Scott was planning to announce the closure of the company at the end of this month after realising that her losses were mounting with no sign of recovery. Horyn says Scott had withdrawn from friends in recent months and had been severely depressed, while others say she was embarrassed about the scale of her debts.

Scott’s desire to keep up with the Joneses (or the Jaggers, Armanis, and Jacobs in her case) was so crucial to her sense of self, that admitting weakness and vulnerability were out of the question. For the fashion icon, it was either success or death, and nothing in between.

Scott’s untimely death has much to do with her own psychological makeup, but it has more to do with a deadly disease infecting Western societies – one  that convinces human beings that their only purpose in life is to attain status and wealth. Scott died in a classic case of Affluenza –  the lethal social condition that drives people to such despair that the only way out is to take their own life.

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It is a deliberate disease, foisted upon us by our economic system that promotes selfishness as the sole mechanism behind our society. As the psychologist and author of the book ‘Affluenza’, Oliver James  says, “‘It is absolutely critical for everybody to go around feeling miserable, filling the emptiness with commodities, dealing with misery by trying to give yourself short-term boosts.” Those short term boosts were the celebrity parties Scott attended, the media attention she got for dating Mick Jagger, and the notoriety of her clothing line. As Scott wrote on her Instagram account just days before her death: “Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of life.”

Ultimately, that armor was not strong enough.

Would Scott have taken her own life had she been imbued with a different set of values – ones that put friendship, community, or spirituality before everything else? We obviously cannot say for sure, but happy, balanced people don’t define themselves by the amount of money and status they have, and don’t kill themselves over issues that are, at the end of the day, completely inconsequential. But in our society, those happy, balanced people are fast in decline. According to The World Health Organization, suicide rates have increased 60 percent over the past 50 years, most prominently in the developing world. Since 1988, there has been an astonishing 400% rise in the use of anti-depression medication in America, and more shockingly, depression is still chronically under diagnosed and treated.

It is amazing to me that someone would take their own life due to professional failure. But that is because I have worked hard at protecting myself from the disease of Affluenza. While a portion of my self image comes from what I do, my belief that human beings are far more than the sum of their professional achievements and social status provides a healthy buffer when things start to go wrong.

As an entrepreneur, I know how psychologically tough it can be having your own company and ‘brand’. There are expectations and assumptions placed upon you that are often so far from the truth that you can’t help but feel like a fraud. You have an idea, or image of yourself and brand, and you go out and tell the world about it; and very often, the world does not listen. To many, you can never admit this, or show weakness, because you must always project an image of confidence and success. But I have learned to accept my weaknesses, and try to be honest about them, even if it is at the expense of the image I am trying to portray. Because for me, it is a matter of mental health. If the image I project has nothing to do with who I am, it will inevitably lead to disaster. I speak to friends and family about the struggles I have running my own business, and have found it tremendously helpful to know that those closest to me don’t care how much money I have, or how influential my website is. They just care about me, and want me to succeed to see me happy. Most importantly, I have made sure that what I do is not who I am, and not essential in making me happy.

What kind of culture must Scott have been in for her to believe that fashion was her only protection from reality? The cut throat industry she devoted her life to is an extreme example of what has gone wrong with western society. With its relentless focus on outward appearance, it has taken beauty and design to an extraordinarily unhealthy place where it replaces the most important elements that make life worth living.

While L’Wren Scott appeared to have it all, really, she had nothing.

To understand why someone like Scott took her own life, it is not good enough to only examine her as a person. Scott existed within a society, and that society imposed a values system on her. We know that as a society, the wealthier we become, the unhappier we are, making the pursuit of material wealth and status all the more pointless. Scott was caught in a vicious cycle of despair – she believed success would make her happy, reinforcing the notion that failure had to make her sad. The more she failed, the sadder she became, and without any comprehension that her life was worth more than her clothing line, she felt there was only one way out.

Of course there were many other ways out, but the society we live in told her otherwise.

 

(For an interesting reaction to this piece, check here)

  • http://www.christopherlondonblog.com/ Christopher London, Esq.

    YOU MUST KEEP IN MIND THAT L’WREN SCOTT WAS FINANCIALLY SOLVENT – her DEBT WAS CORPORATE DEBT under the INCORPORATED FASHION BRAND. The debt of the fashion brand could have been restructured or extinguised in Bankruptcy or an out of court workout or debt restructuring. I guarantee you that Mick did not lose a single dime in this relationship. He was secured by her person, a very different position than the fashion brand’s corporate creditors. This article ignores the fact that L’Wren Scott died worth being nearly $10 Million dollars, quite a bit more than the average citizen.
    Sir Mick Jagger had “complete & total control” over this woman L’Wren Scott, both her life and her business. Check the history of his relationships. He monitored the activities of the women in his life, was tight with the purse strings and drove people to the brink. If Jagger dumped this woman and was unplugging himself emotionally, financially and sexually because he had moved on, his notoriously cheap nature suggests he would want to get back what he put in. Remember he was with Jerry Hall for 24 years and she gave him children, all she got was $7 Million after she sued him and also wrote a book. I guarantee you that if Mick was going to “DIVEST” himself in every way, she pushed back and said you will leave me no choice but to “LAWYER UP” and sue you for the investments I have made in your brand and our homes around the world. Furthermore, I will write a tell all book about my years with one the “Legendary Front Man of the Rolling Stones” – the self proclaimed Greatest Rock & Roll Band of All Time (which they are NOT – the Beatles and Led Zeppelin made more memorable music in one decade than the stones have made in five. Mick is now a grandpa and though he was out as BISEXUAL and CROSSDRESSER and has had multiple stories about his SMALL PENIS at this juncture of his life and with the proliferation of social media, he does not need a woman suing him and maybe getting another $20-30 Million plus keeping what she has already…if he really let her keep her home that is…….

  • MorinMoss

    There is a LOT of speculation here and not a damn bit of evidence.
    People kill themselves all the time and not necessarily for the reasons outsiders think.

    On the day that L’Wren Scott ended her life, perhaps as many as 100 people in the USA did the same.
    Good to know that, a mere dozen days later, we have a reason for those 101 Tragedies – they died from Affluenza.
    When can we expect a vaccine?

    • nevilleross

      What I see is a lot of resentment of Wren Scott because she was a rich and famous designer, and the writer of this article being tired of the media’s focus on people,like these over more important issues.

      • MorinMoss

        Good job then that he, one of the media, decided to write about her instead of focusing on “more important issues”.

        • nevilleross

          Hey, I’m not defending him. He’s one of the people that’s resentful.

      • elizabennett

        L”wren scott was not “rich.” she had an apartment worth 8 or 9 million dollars purchased for her by jagger, and she had about 9 million dollars worth of debt. she was about to close up the business, and she had nothing to pay those debts off with but for possibly selling the apartment, after which she would have had nothing. she was far from rich.

  • theprinterlady

    While I understand the point the author makes…. depression that leads to suicide is not as simple as “I’m in debt and lose hope”. Nor is it because someone has defective values, or is shallow, or … Depression is an illness that – while circumstances can aggravate it or even bring it on – it isn’t a personality or values flaw, it’s an illness of the mind. It’s not logical (and thus people can’t be “reasoned” out of it) nor is it a “mood” that someone can “think” or “believe” your way out of…nor is changing what you value a guaranteed cure-all. People with good values, good beliefs, good backgrounds… all can become victims of depression – even when things are going well. This article makes it overly simple… and it’s not. And it blames the victim (she didn’t have deep enough values…in other words, she was shallow and thus killed herself out of shallow values)… depression is NOT that simple, not that easily explained away. It can happen to anyone – even people with “good” and “balanced” values, even people of deep faith, or … in other words… you. Nobody reading this article is “safe” because they have the “right” value system or sense of balance or whatever. It’s an illness… and it can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime for any reason. Blaming the victim doesn’t keep you safe.

    • veronica verkely

      Finally an insightful comment! Thank you. The consensus that somehow only a woman who is married with children can avoid despair and be fulfilled. This lovely creature had a life filled with artistic creativity and the love and devotion of a compatible partner for over 13 years. To me it just shows how indiscriminant depression is.

      • theprinterlady

        I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life (and it runs in my family). I’ve been the MOST depressed when life was going well… nothing going on that would “cause” it…. and I’ve been fine in circumstances that SHOULD have left me depressed. (Foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce, serious illnesses, child in accident). Thus, the “causation” of the depression is not circumstantial always. (Sometimes circumstances don’t help, but “causing” it is not so easy to prove). ,

        I wish more people really understood depression. It’s not anyone’s “fault” any more than catching a cold is someone’s “fault”. Nor is it easily cured by just changing your mind, or your thoughts… yes, that can help… but… “curing” depression is a chemical issue not a mind-set issue.

    • Donald Miller

      Well said. One hopes that the people reading the article are not doing anymore than using it as some ideas to think about. No matter what walk of life people come from, we are all the same in the sense of having painful experiences and trying to make it through life relatively unscathed. That’s not an easy thing to do for anyone.

      If this were just a gossip piece it would be shameful, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as a think piece. Ms. Scott said in an issue of Vogue magazine that her definition of success was whether or not she was happy. That’s an overly ambitious benchmark for most people to achieve. I wouldn’t last long if it were an assignment I gave myself.

      My definition for success is to make it from one day to the next and still get out of bed the next morning regardless of how I feel. Sometimes even that is a challenge.

  • Nata999

    I like the article, the points are great about money/wealth/status being too connected to self image and worth in today’s society, but I’m going to guess that a lot more was in play regarding L’Wren Scott’s depression and suicide. The lady was going to turn fifty years old, this is an emotionally charged landmark age for many women. She was fifty yet she had no children and was not married. At fifty you realize your time is running out to find those personal relationships, have a child or create a family. She was also probably going through the change of life or perimenopause which hits women about this age or even younger.. it seems her relationship with Mick Jagger was not as stable as it was before when she was younger… look at all these issues and see how this along with the business problems could make this woman feel despairing. yes I feel she was too caught up in the world of money and luxury and image, but let’s say she had children to focus on or a strong marriage with a man she could be sure was going to stay around, I have a feeling she would still be here and would be less affected by disappointment regarding her fashion empire. The lady was facing possible financial ruin, possibly being dumped by her long time boyfriend (according to reports) being alone, no children for emotional support, she wasn’t close to her nuclear family anymore, she felt she couldn’t always trust those in her fashion circle of friends, becoming what some people consider “undesirable” in the dating world due to her age, at least in the circles she traveled in, this is a recipe for emotional disaster.

    • theprinterlady

      Could not disagree with you more. Kids are not a cure-all for mental illness… and that’s what depression is. An illness of the mind. it’s a chemical imbalance that is not dependent on circumstances (although a lot of stress can deplete brain chemicals).

      Getting married and having children is not every woman’s dream… in a way, your comment is putting the same kind of blame on the victim that the original article is. “She had bad values (fashion, money) and thus killed herself” is the same defective reasoning as “She didn’t get married and have kids so she killed herself”.

      Good grief, if mental illness was that easy to cure, the mental hospitals would just set up a wedding chapel and cure everyone.

      • Nata999

        It seems getting married and having kids WAS L’Wren Scotts dream according to friends and family and she was depressed about not having those things, . Not all depression is from “chemical imbalance”… please trust me, I”ve had clinical depressive episodes four times in my life and I have OCD, and the episodes are brought on by life circumstances and past unresolved trauama, I don’t have a defective “BRAIN” I have a damaged “HEART”…. I probably know more about “mental illness” than the average joe. Alot of depression for ALOT of people is what they call “situational depression” meaning it’s a depressed state kicked off by painful situations or trauma. If mental illness was simply just chemical imbalance, as our pharmaceutical giants like us to believe, those little pills called Prozac, Zoloft, and more would ‘cure” the users, but they usually don’t. I have not in any way put blame on this victim any more than I put blame on myself for being depressed or having depression. You say that mental illness is always a chemical imbalance, many other chemical imbalances are regularly “cured” by the use of medicines or surgery, such as hormone imbalances (Ive had those too) yet very few people are “cured” from depression by the use of antidepressants or even helped more than marginally. You need to research the actual results of antidepressant use vs Placebo in blind studies run by non pharmaceutical researchers.. I know lots and lots of people with depression, you have completely missed the boat on my post and I really think you need to study psychology a little bit more and not buy into the hype that “depression” is just a chemical imbalance and has nothing to do with life circumstances or painful emotions or trauma such as sexual abuse, because the facts are that chronic depression and episodic depression can often be tred to trauma and situations in people’s lives, that when they clear them up or move beyond them the depression lifts. Don’t damn anybody to have to be dependent on a pill to be normal, that’s not the case for most people. Cognitive therapy has been proven to be as successful as drug therapy for depression and anxiety, and it involves no medications. Unhappiness can cause brain chemistry to go off, this is the gist of my post friend, she was focused on lots of negatives for a long time, which probably kicked her into a depressed state… she didn’t just suddenly develop “bad brain chemistry”, there isn’t anything sexist with saying a woman would be sad if she never married or had kids, most people want to marry and have kids, male and female…

        • theprinterlady

          Since I, and many members of my family, have either depression or bi-polar disorder… and I have a number of friends with those or other mental illnesses (and even a few with personality disorders), and since I read research papers “for fun”, I think that I’m caught up on my research.

          You are welcome to your opinions… but… I have had medications work very successfully in my life, and in the lives of those that I’m close to… and some have not had such success (however, we don’t know a whole lot about brain chemistry as compared to what we need to know).

          I’m not entirely discounting that someone’s mental attitude or values affects how depression can affect a particular person… but to say “She wanted kids and a family and she’d be alive if she had them” is…. speculation beyond speculation. Kids and family bring on their own stresses… they are not a cure all even for those that desire them strongly.

          Circumstances are NOT what mental illness is about. They are circumstances. Even “happy” circumstances don’t insulate one from mental illness. I know, I’ve been there. A lot.

          • Nata999

            First let me sympathize with you for your depression/bipolar struggles. But let me clear something up, from the beginning you seem to be attributing an attitude or quote, to me that goes like this “Since she wanted kids and a family, she would be alive if she had them” I never made such a simplistic remark on this complex issue we are discussing. I simply gave my opinion on what her mental state and issues might have been considering all the things written about her desires, struggles, hopes and disappointments as of late. Any psychologist would take those issues that L’Wren was dealing with at this stage of her life, and focus strongly on those as root causes of her depression. I would hope the day NEVER comes that all depression and anxiety disorders are relegated to simple “bad bain chemistry” and therapy that helps people heal from emotional pain and reframe their thinking patterns is not even considered. If you feel that bad brain chemistry is at the root of all your issues with psychiatric disorders and those within your circle, great, there are plenty of pills out there for this, taking medication is a quicker fix and probably cheaper than spending time in reframing thinking, working on family issues etc.. IF IT WORKS. You take issue with people suggesting that having a happy family life, love and success at following dreams might have caused a different outcome in L’Wren’s life, but seriously, suggesting that all people that commit suicide have a chemical imbalance that caused their depression is pretty speculative and simplistic as well, fact is the whole “lack of serotonin in the brain” causes depression is actually speculation, not proven fact. That’s right we do not know much at all about brain chemistry, there could even be brain chemicals that have not been fully discovered or analyzed, or understood at this point. If a lack of serotonin in the brain, or even dopamine levels were the cause of clinical depression for everyone, then nearly EVERYONE should benefit from taking antidepressants while depressed, but the truth is many do not, and many feel even worse while taking them.I’m also amazed at this idea that suddenly in the last 30 some years so many Americans now have faulty brain chemistry causing depression and need medicine to have normal brain functioning, how did that happen? In my parents and grandparents time, not many were taking psychiatric drugs and I believe suicide and severe depression and even bipolar was less prevalent .Seems like it happened once certain companies realized what a cash cow these drugs could be. Now if you want to talk about hormone disruption causing mood disorders etc , I’m going to be more on board with that, but less inclined to think so many people now have messed up serotonin levels via bad luck in the genetic gene pool lottery, that require long term or life long dependence on Prozac to live a normal life. I wonder if L’Wren Scott had recently started taking antidepressants before her death, as I’m sure if she went to a doctor for her depression this would be the first thing offered to her, I know at least three people that had never attempted suicide, then attempt suicide after using antidepressants for their depression as their mood actually became worse while on them. Good luck, I’m sincerely glad medications work for you, you are blessed in that regard.

          • theprinterlady

            Unfortunately, you did make such a simplistic claim. You said, ” At fifty you realize your time is running out to find those personal relationships, have a child or create a family. She was also probably going through the change of life or perimenopause which hits women about this age or even younger.. it seems her relationship with Mick Jagger was not as stable as it was before when she was younger… look at all these issues and see how this along with the business problems could make this woman feel despairingyes I feel she was too caught up in the world of money and luxury and image, but let’s say she had children to focus on or a strong marriage with a man she could be sure was going to stay around, I have a feeling she would still be here and would be less affected by disappointment regarding her fashion empire. ”

            Aside from the obvious judgement being passed here (that somehow her relationship with Mick was not up to par)… it’s a simplistic view of someone’s life.

            This indicates that you think circumstances are the “cause” of suicide. I contend that circumstances can ATTRIBUTE to depression and suicide, but that the mere alteration of circumstances will not avert depression or suicide.

            We can disagree, no problem. But I do object to such simplistic ideas being put forth because they give people a false sense of security… that somehow, if they manage their circumstances “correctly” and this is simply not the case.

            Yes, there are people who get worse on anti-depressants. I don’t view them as a cure-all, and since many of them we don’t even understand, I don’t think that there are unintended consequences with some of them should be surprising to anyone. Thus, we need to know more. And I’m sure there are some people who find relief via counseling etc. Not trying to disparage that either. (I changed my religion, which has helped a lot, but it didn’t CURE the problem, it just reduced some of the circumstantial issues).

            In any event, none of us who didn’t know her personally can say for sure what did and did not go into this. However,I personally think that reducing it to a values issue, or a “gosh, she should have gotten married and had kids” thing is REALLY unfair to her. JMO.

          • Nata999

            I did NOT say this woman would “still be alive” if she had blah blah blah, as you have claimed… I also never said “she should have gotten married and had kids”…. you need to reread what I wrote, I made no sweeping generalizations about WHAT would keep her alive or stop her from suicide, I simply commented on all the factors involved that could lead her to feel despair, and as we all know, despair can lead to a depressed state. I have pretty much said all I can say about this situation, if you don’t like my comments that’s fine, it’s your choice, I won’t be responding to any more of your comments because there is no purpose in it for me. You seem to have quite a hot button issue about women and marriage and kids related to happiness, okay, but it’s not one of my issues so I don’t feel the need to talk about it anymore. Good luck with your healing process.

          • nevilleross

            Also reducing it to getting therapy as a cure-all isn’t smart either, something that Nata999 and many other people don’t get. Not all physical or mental ailments can be cured by natural remedies or by ‘therapy’ (many of which involve emotional and mental abuse done by the therapist, IMHO in order to fix the person); at one point in your life, you’ll have to see a doctor, and get some medications to help you with your mental or physical ailments. There’s no shame in doing so, and there shouldn’t be any shame or problem in wanting to use only a drug to get well mentally.

  • Aaron Litz

    Just one more example of why I despise the fashion industry and all it stands for.

  • Varvara

    I can not agree more.

    She had nothing. And maybe, that was the reason, why she hanged herself on a doorknob of a multi-million NY apartment. The realization, in that apartment, in those probably very expensive silk pajamas, that she really had nothing, zero, nada. Because somewhere along the way, she forgot who she was. And maybe she never knew, who she was. She was adopted, though she grew up in a loving (according to all testimony, so far) environment. She never knew who she was. She always stuck out, not only because she physically really did. She must have had her girly dreams, ambitions. Sure she liked fashion, as 90 percent of us, women do. Some of us, including myself, literally have passion for fashion and spend a lot of money (I mean a LOT) on it. Just as she did. But not all of us lose ourselves in this whole circus, nor all of us spend more cash, than we can afford to.

    I am a person, that grew up in wealthy circles. It was pre-determined for me, it runs in generations. I have a good life. I travel a lot. I spend a lot of money. I have a cleaning lady, I have my own hairdresser and my own seamstress. But I always ground myself. Deliberately. Not because I have to, rather because I choose to and I want to. I cook, I make my own food shopping. I stay home with our daughter as much as I can. I even cancelled the whole au-pair thing. When we need to go away without our child, or we go out for movies or dinner, we ask our family to look after her. I drive my own car. Our driver is called on rare occasions.

    It is very easy to get lost in a world of glitz and glamour, endless parties, caviar and champagne flowing, butlers attending to your every need, massage therapists putting you on your feet the morning ‘after’, when you are just too hungover to function. It is easy to shop until you drop, it is easy to do the globetrotting from one place to another without any specific goal or meaning, just for the fun of it. The catch is: it is all phony, empty and pointless. And majority of the people you meet during this crazy, fictional ride, does not mean a word they say. They do not care. And they do nothing (good) for you. They are cliché.

    L’Wren lived such a life and I dare to say, as I know it up close and personal. Her story ended up the way it did because of more than one factor though, in my humble opinion. She was not entirely at peace with who she was, because if the contrary would be the case, she would not try to bury her past and people she left in it, the way she did. She was too old to have her own family, there was no child to live for. Her boyfriend was a celebrity, a rocker, once a wild guy, womanizer. That alone is a diagnosis as is, not giving anyone much comfort and stability, not to speak of a woman who must have been hiding her insecurities very deep down almost every day. And whose success was 50/50, as she might have been acknowledged by some, but not by too many, in her books. And whose success, and she very well knew, was in a bigger or smaller part due to her high profile relationship.

    I suspect on the top of all these factors, she may have suffered from an anxiety disorder (caused by stressful and hectic life- both in a good and bad sense, too much traveling, bad sleeping patterns that come with nocturnal lifestyle of parties and jet-setting and from work- related stress) which, if untreated leads to depression.

    She may have been all that was written about her. Literally, she may have been ALL, as a human being is a complex entity, with its bright and dark side. She may have been strong, insecure, full of life, sad, worried and carefree, proud and humble, self-confident and tormented by being so tall, loved and betrayed, once poor, then on the rise, and then on the fall again. The bottom line is, she hung herself on a doorknob. Nobody, who takes their own life, is in a healthy, right state of mind. Something, or mix of all the things mentioned, made her end be the way it was. For us, outsiders and observers, it was a tragic one. For her, in THAT moment and state of her mind, it was the only acceptable one.

    Thank you for letting me share my opinion on this subject.

    • Benthedailybanter

      Thanks very much for sharing this. I’m going to publish to the main section of the site tomorrow. Really heartfelt and genuine.

      • Donald Miller

        Excellent and insightful article.

        What I find a bit shocking is that Keith Richards is such a good example of someone who did stay grounded in his inner-most person. A few years ago, ironically during an Australian tour, I saw a photo of Keith hanging some clothes to dry out on the balcony of his hotel room. Evidently, he had washed some of his clothes in the sink.

        For anyone who has read his autobiography, it’s abundantly clear that Keith never forgot the extreme poverty in which he grew up. Nor was he ashamed of it. It made him who he is. Despite his drug excesses, Keith really is a well-grounded guy–and in that sense a good role model.

    • Phylis M

      Very insightful. I think that you are very close to the sad truth for this beautiful, talented woman.

  • Christian

    Here here – good article. It’s amazing the number of people who find happiness in, and the extent to which satisfaction is obtained from, the acquisition of objects, entrance to/association with “exclusive” cr*p.

    Remember us when you’re a millionaire media tycoon Ben! ;-)

  • Emily333

    Hi Ben, I wonder if you can recommend any reading on this topic? Have you read books on the topic of “affluenza” that you would recommend? Thanks!

    • Benthedailybanter

      Hey Emily, Oliver James’s book ‘Afflluenza’ really is excellent.

  • Frederic Poag

    “As an entrepreneur, I know how psychologically tough it can be having your own company and ‘brand’. There are expectations and assumptions placed upon you that are often so far from the truth that you can’t help but feel like a fraud.”

    Fighting against that right now. It’s a harsh struggle. Thanks for the piece man. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

    • Frederic Poag

      “To many, you can never admit this, or show weakness, because you must always project an image of confidence and success.”

      I should’ve read to the end. This. This all fuckin’ day long. Seriously man, you understand it. Thanks, dude.

  • scallywag

    According to the NYPD, L’Wren Scott died at her own hands but as you shall soon see there are some unanswered questions regarding her death that raise concern and how interestingly the NYPD have chosen to deal with Mick Jagger who although was on the other side of the world when L’Wren Scott died ought to have at least engendered some questioning regarding his long term partner’s death.

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2014/03/mick-jagger-get-away-lwren-scotts-murder/

  • feloniousgrammar

    How do you know all this about her? You talk about antidepressants, but if her suicide was really precipitated by “affluenza” then I suppose we need to develop a pill for affluenza, then, right? Is there some law that if a person commits suicide thenythey’re depressed”? Other than the circular argument?

    You might consider that she could have been taking an anti-depressant when she killed herself. It’s impossible to sort out on an individual level whether the effects of an antidepressant led to a suicide, but in the macro, there is not doubt that these drugs can make a person suicidal and in many cases it is evident when a person is so altered on the drug that they aren’t themselves to people who know them. More people are being medicated than ever and the suicide rates are going up. U.S. soldiers have been given antidepressants while in combat zones and their suicide rate is off the charts.

    Maybe, just maybe, not everyone who attempts or commits suicide has the same reasons, and maybe what drives a lot of people to attempt or to commit suicide has nothing to do with some biological malfunction.

    One out of five people are not mentally ill. It’s just mind-boggling to me that so many educated liberals believe this. Look around— are the overwhelming majority of people around you mentally ill? Miserable maybe, but one out of every five people do not have an indigenous brain disorder that just happens to be responsible for every feeling that doesn’t fit on the happy camper chart. And most people do not need to take medication for life in order to function normally. Even if you do feel “depressed” and a pill appears to work for you, you do not have a brain disorder.

    Anyone who thinks themselves well educated about sciences should take a good look at the field of psychiatry and see it for the cargo cult that it is. There is zero evidence that “depression” is the result of a biological anomaly that no one can find, for some reason, it certainly doesn’t show up in autopsy. And the over-diagnosis is phenomenal. The marketing for these drugs keep talking about “serotonin” as if all efforts to find a link between serotonin and depression haven’t failed to find a links.

    If it works for you, fine. But before you start recommending it for others, you should, if you consider yourself to be the scientifically inclined realist, do some homework.

    • Benthedailybanter

      Exactly what article were you reading? Where did I recommend Scott take anti depressants? The article was about society and the relentless pursuit of material wealth and status, not Scott taking medication.

      • feloniousgrammar

        “Since 1988, there has been an astonishing 400% rise in the use of anti-depression medication in America, and more shockingly, depression is still chronically under diagnosed and treated.”

        • Benthedailybanter

          Right, but I’m simply stating facts that anti depressant use is on the rise, and that depression is under diagnosed and treated. I’m not advocating the use of anti depressants in any way. I’m just saying there is an epidemic of mental health issues in the West. Treatment could be therapy/fitness/stopping work or whatever else could potentially work.

          • feloniousgrammar

            The “fact” that there is an “epidemic of mental health issues in the West” is bad science and good marketing.

            Also, as far as business and suicide goes, suicides of farmers worldwide are phenomenal and great in number. Pesticides are the weapons of choice for them.

            Psychiatry on the whole cannot predict who is at risk for suicide. In fact, the field is just now getting around to interviewing people who have attempted to commit suicide instead of just objectifying people who commit suicide with psychiatric autopsies that don’t look at the brain, because there is nothing to see there. It is known that childhood sexual abuse, other abuses, and neglect: rape, battering, and social isolation are risk factors for suicide, but why one person commits suicide cannot be reduced to one or even two lens.

            The kind of psychological autopsy you’ve done here is certainly interesting speculation. I’m a bit suspicious that this is becoming an issue while the number of poor in this country is increasing and they’re getting poorer, and the gap between the haves and nots is being talked about openly.

            Here’s what WHO has to say about suicide and antidepressants:

            In 2004 a group of Australian researchers and the WHO conducted a study across 100 countries which tested the theory that the implementation of national mental health policies, programs and legislation would be associated with lower national suicide rates. They found the opposite.

            The introduction of a mental health policy and mental health legislation was associated with an increase in male and total suicide rates, and the introduction of a therapeutic drugs policy was associated with an increase in total suicide rates.

            http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/01/evidence-that-more-psychiatry-means-more-suicide

            Human psychology and social relationships are infinitely complex. I suspect that the reduction of humans to diagnoses and single issues may have a profound impact on people who are socially vulnerable and trapped in a capitalist world that only cares about money and fame and would love to see you fall on your face— which you pretty much addressed. I think you have a point, but nobody knows why she killed herself.

          • Erikita

            I really think you are missing the point of the article. He used a fact and you are trying to take that fact and blow it up. I get what you are saying, but it is not what the article is about as a whole. I actually encourage you to take all the information you just typed and write an article that I can read separately.

          • feloniousgrammar

            “While it is obvious Scott was responsible for taking her own life, there is another culprit at large that isn’t so easy to define, but is ultimately responsible for killing her long before her time.”

            It’s an interesting concept— affluenza— but he has no idea why she killed herself and his premise is that he does.

          • feloniousgrammar

            Fuck edit isn’t working for some odd reason. I read this just fine, his premise is “While it is obvious Scott was responsible for taking her own life, there is another culprit at large that isn’t so easy to define, but is ultimately responsible for killing her long before her time.”

          • Erikita

            It is all speculation. The writer, like everyone else is just speculating what could have led her to make such a horrible decision to end her life. Unfortunately no one will ever know except L’Wren herself or if she left a note. The writer is highlighting that Affluenza perhaps contributed to her suicide as friends are starting to come forward that her company being in debt caused her severe depression and to withdraw from people close to her.

            I find this piece to be very well written. I like how the writer brings up the idea that perhaps the decline of her empire lead her to commit suicide and tying it to how the western world focuses too much on how much money they have, how many nice things they own, who they know, etc, etc. Sure it is far stretched to think that maybe her company being in debt led her to her final decision, but the fact that it MAY have been a reason is very alarming because it touches on important factors: 1. we attribute our sense of self with what we own, who we know, etc. 2. Westerners place too much value on what we own, who we know and what they will think of us. We should surround ourselves with people who are positive and are not just around us to get something from us or benefit from who we know or what we own. 3. It is important for our sense of self to feel valuable, loved, and supported, but we should have healthy and realistic expectations and support from our inner circle.

            Suicide is very tricky to talk about though. I have lost a friend through suicide and all I know is that there are many factors that contribute to someone deciding to just end their life in such a matter. Sometimes even having a strong support system isn’t enough and the self is beyond repair, but thats an entirely different discussion. Great, now I feel like I rambled on.

          • theprinterlady

            Actually, I thought you made quite a bit of sense. My issue with the article is that the author purports to know “why” when … in fact… he doesn’t… and while I can buy off on the idea that someone can buy into a set of values that ultimately can exacerbate depression, I don’t think that saying the victim has bad values (fashion, business self-worth, money, looks, whatever) is fair.

            I know that there is at least one person on this posting who will think I’m wrong but… I have depression. It’s a real illness. With a chemical cause. I know this because I’ve been on anti-depressants, and now manage the problem with amino acids. (I’m lucky, I can get this to work). Have had chronic depression since I was 6. I’m a chronic “high functioning” depressive. The highest successful rate of suicides comes from this group – a group that may not even “look” depressed from the outside. (Even when I’m ready to jump off a bridge, very few – if any – of my closest friends and relatives would know, because I appear happy.) The stereotypical depression (can’t get out of bed, can’t function, etc.) is not me or others in my family. Only someone tuned to very fine changes in my “mood” would notice that I’m not doing well. Usually I have to tell people. (And I do now).

            Unfortunately, in my life, I have many suicides to examine up close and personal. And what I can tell you is… some struggled with self esteem, some with “life isn’t what I expected”, some with marital troubles, some with addiction, some with financial issues, and some with uncontrollable mental illness that not even strong medications, therapy, religion, belief, etc. could help. They all had “reasons”… but what they ALL have in common is… a mental illness. Something that made reasoning and logic of no avail. There is only one of the 10 or so that I am familiar with on a personal level that was due to something that could be ascribed to something other than mental illness… and that was a type of revenge (in my opinion, based on the note left behind).

            One can identify the “reasons” fairly easily, affix blame, and think “Well, I’d never fall for that” and move on thinking that one is safe. But mental illness is not a problem of “reasons”, it’s a problem of chemistry… and frankly, we don’t know enough about that chemistry to help everyone. Yes, our value system needs fixing, and being aware of that could help people lessen their “reasons” for suicide. But fixing the underlying illness is actually the need. And we aren’t there yet.

    • Socialist Cubone

      Obviously it’s just being caused by the vaccines.

      DAMN YOU BIG PHARMA!

      • feloniousgrammar

        I’ve gotten my information from critical psychiatrists.

        • nevilleross

          You’re getting your info from people practicing spooky woo-woo.

          • feloniousgrammar

            I’m getting my information from professional psychiatrists I have been following for years.

    • Laura Fuino

      I agree the meds led her to this.

  • Charles

    Thank you, Ben, for this considered piece. Got me thinking about what, if anything, can be done to shift / shake us free of this kind of pretense / believed attachment to identity.

  • Jason E

    6 million in debt. Wouldn’t that be pocket change for Mick Jagger?

    • feloniousgrammar

      Could she have declared bankruptcy?

    • nevilleross

      And considering how wealthy he is, couldn’t he have bailed her out?

      • Jason E

        Damn you dug deep to respond to this one, it’s 3 weeks old.

        • Donald Miller

          Now it’s a month after the article was published. Do I have your permission to comment? Would that be okay with you? Could I avoid a snide remark?

          • Jason E

            Please by all means proceed. As far as the snide remarks, I make no guarantees. If you found my comment to be: sarcastic, mean, nasty, unpleasant, malicious, spiteful, unkind or hurtful in any way; then you may want reconsider the use of the internet because there are some real assholes out there. You might want to get sized for a cyber suit of armor to protect your thin skin. Tootle loo

          • Donald Miller

            Hey, wait a minute. That’s not snide. It’s damn funny, is what it is. LMHO. Heh-heh

          • Jason E

            I aim to please! Take care and Banter on.

      • Donald Miller

        What I got from the author’s thoughts was that she didn’t want to be bailed out by anyone other than herself. A lot of people are like that, although not usually with tragic consequences like this.

  • http://www.dlancystreet.com reginahny

    Very thoughtful, thanks for this. I struggle with this whole idea that a person has to be a “brand”. I’ve freelanced creative work for decades and always stood on the quality of my work. Only recently am I expected to “be a brand”, “brand myself” etc. I don’t want to be a brand. That’s for Coke and Pepsi. I prefer to let my work speak for itself but struggle not to come across as some odd Luddite. No I don’t want to Facebook, Tweet, LinkIn, Pinterest, Tumbler, selfie, YouTube, Google+ etc. ad nauseum to be a brand. I’d rather do good work, and then take a walk.

    • Donald Miller

      Read about Bill Watterson, and you’ll find someone who isn’t about to let himself get branded in any fashion. He’s a unique, and probably very happy man. His comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” certainly brought a lot of happiness into my life.

  • Scopedog

    A good piece, Ben.

    “Most importantly, I have made sure that what I do is not who I am, and not essential in making me happy.” And I salute you for being able to do that–but I’m guessing it wasn’t easy….

    • Benthedailybanter

      Nope, and I have to work on it continuously.