We look up to our celebs, hoping that they escape all the problems that the rest of us face, such as loss of love relationships and career dissatisfaction, but they don’t. In Owen’s case, we can speculate that his recent break-up with Kate Hudson, followed by her publicized new romance, could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. In fact, these depressing life events are even more stressful for celebs because they are in the public eye, and that in and of itself causes tremendous stress. It’s one thing to have your girlfriend break up with you, and quite another to have it happen in front of millions of curious onlookers.
Suicide is the 11th most common cause of death in the U.S. One of the best antidotes to thoughts that can lead to suicidal impulses is to find out what we really think. We all lie to ourselves all the time and band-aid over our real feelings so much of the time we don’t even really know how we feel. I travel the country putting on Truth Heals™ seminars, where people can come and really express themselves. There they find a safe place to get in touch with their real feelings. Feelings like jealousy or resentment, if not addressed, can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Other possible causes of suicidal thoughts are side effects from both street and prescription drugs. (Paradoxically, suicidal impulses are a side effect to some major anti-depressive drugs!) The drugs can leave someone very imbalanced from any major stress, from divorce to job loss to a death in the family. Any trauma can cause significant clinical depression that can lead to suicidal thoughts. I worked with a man at a seminar in NY who had become suicidal after a bout with heat stroke. It can be something that simple.
Another celeb hazard lies, oddly enough, in their very talent. Owen is actually a very talented writer; he was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay,“The Royal Tennebaums.” It’s a fact that the more talent a person has, the more likely they will have complex and troubling emotions. Think Virginia Woolf and Hunter Thompson, Halle Berry and Rosie O’Donnell—all have been wracked by depression.
Then there’s that special comedic talent – unfortunately,just below laughter, there are always tears. It takes someone who can feel deeply to make us laugh. Owen is the clown archetype in modern dress. Chances are, he’s been creating laughs because he may tend toward depression. Think John Belushi and Robin Williams. The clown archetype, throughout history, has always been, underneath, a really sad, troubled figure; he makes us laugh to take himself away from his own deeply felt pain. As both a gifted writer and talented actor, it’s no wonder Owen Wilson has had such a hard time staying balanced.
What about fact that his family is famous? This could very well be another factor for Owen. When we think of a safe haven, many of us think of home. But if home involves a lot of competition, expressed or not, it won’t feel safe. It will be just another pressure cooker.
With Owen Wilson, underlying his sporadic reported drug use is depression, and below that festers his real problems, admittedly rooted in self-esteem issues. Owen’s habit of “disappearing” when he is troubled is the worst thing any of us can do to avoid depression; that can lead us to drugs and alcohol.
I urge those who feel depressed or hopeless to talk, whether with a therapist or with family or friends or in a 12-step program – or even by calling 911. Just don’t stop talking. Our fear can really run away with us when we clam up. Don’t feel any shame about it either – there’s no shame in feeling down or lost. If someone you know threatens suicide, always take it seriously and get them help immediately. You won’t be violating their confidence. Those who contemplate suicide aren’t thinking clearly at that moment and will thank you later, when their thinking improves.
In addition to talking about your feelings, another antidote to suicidal thoughts is physical movement, preferably outside. I hold events across the country and work with a lot of very depressed people – depressed about their lives, their health, their lack of prosperity. I help them find that connection back to nature – it can be as small as watching a sunset or petting your dog. Pets are one of the best ways to stay emotionally balanced.
Know that deep depression and suicidal thoughts can happen to anyone, even someone as apparently successful and happy as Owen Wilson. Our thoughts are with him today.