A reader left a very insightful and honest comment on the piece I wrote about the suicide of L’Wren Scott on Tuesday, giving her perspective on the tragedy as another person of immense privilege. Going by the user name ‘Varvara’, she detailed the struggles of having enormous wealth, but little meaning to ones life – a problem she appears to know well.
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.
In response, I’d like to say thank you to ‘Varvara’ for sharing her opinion and highlighting a very real illness for many people who appear outwardly to have everything in life, but suffer immensely on the inside. Affluenza is very real, and the sooner our society acknowledges this, the quicker we can get round to pulling ourselves off this fast track to madness.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.