On August 3rd, Sinead O’Connor posted a tearful message to her followers on Facebook in which she detailed her struggle with mental illness and how she’s been abandoned by everyone in her life over a disease that’s out of her control. It was an emotional plea and hard to watch. Hers is a sad story, to be sure. To go from the heights of rock stardom to, as she described in the video, a travel lodge in the ass-end of New Jersey is an awful state of affairs — believe me, having grown up on the border of Jersey, I know its ass-end is pretty fucking terrifying. Still and all, I just can’t care about her personal crisis.
It’s not that I don’t have empathy for her, I do. But why am I obliged to feel bad about a stranger’s tribulations when there’s so much suffering and pain in the world? I’ve seen entirely too many people on Facebook commenting on the video, offering up their support, their well wishes, but to me it just comes off as rubbernecking with the false patina of compassion. In other words, it’s all a bunch of fucking horseshit. If she eventually succumbs to her demons and offs herself, her fans might be upset about it for a couple of days, but ultimately they’ll get on with their lives. I understand Sinead is not a well woman, but she’s always been an attention-seeker, a wannabe martyr. The truth is, she had all the luck in the world and she flushed it down the toilet. Whose fault is that? You can’t blame it all on mental illness or a lousy upbringing. At some point, you’ve got to take accountability for your own actions.
Life is hard…it’s nasty, brutish and short. Most people don’t get to follow their dreams. Most people do what they need to do to survive. They compromise themselves, they sell themselves short…and then they grow old and irrelevant. Barely in her twenties, Sinead became an international superstar, allowed entrée in to the pantheon of the greats. She achieved and experienced twenty times more in her life than the normal person…and for what? She was always just a middling talent with a pretty face and buzzcut. She talks about the injustices endured by those with mental illness…where’s the justice for all the true talents in the world that go unrecognized?
We all know someone like Sinead…someone who’s been handed everything on a silver platter, blows it all up, then turns around to blame it all on another party or circumstance. Facebook is teeming with these people. They post their blather…their tales of woe…all the while not taking a single shred of responsibility for their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I know what it’s like to be depressed…I’ve suffered depression my entire life. Still, I never bother anyone about it…I certainly never blame anybody for it. I just try and do my best. That’s all anyone can really hope to do in this life – their best.
I’m not in any way belittling the pain of mental illness. It’s a devastating disease. All I’m saying is, if you’re sick, seek help. Hopefully you have a support system…many do not. What I do know is, Facebook is not the answer. Sinead O’Connor needs to take care of Sinead O’Connor and stop laying her troubles at the feet of her fans. Have some dignity…change your meds…do whatever you need to do to survive.
In the end, that’s any of us can do. But one thing I’ve learned is – don’t expect anyone to care. The hard truth is, no one does. Sure, all these phony, rubbernecking, schadenfreude shit for brains may act like they do…but they don’t.
And neither do I.
According to reports, Sinead admitted herself to a hospital soon after she posted her video. Good for her. I hope she pulls out of the tailspin and gets herself back on her feet. For her sake and her children’s. But in all honesty…I still don’t care…not really, anyway.
And neither do you.