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Alexander McQueen hanged himself on the eve of mother’s funeral

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  1. RIP
    This is tragic

  2. Absolutely. Poor man.

  3. “a blond man claiming to be his boyfriend was seen crying outside.”

    Did you really need to report that?

  4. So it seems that’s how deeply he loved his mother. Very much, obviously.

    Well, everyone has the right to take their life whenever they wish. I only wish that in this country a system existed whereby one can end one’s life without having to slash one’s arms with razor blades and go through the agony of hanging from a rope. There would still be people who would choose such immediate methods, of course.

    But the thing is: we should respect his choice.

  5. Simon Murphy 12 Feb 2010, 1:49pm

    Very sad.

    I feel great sympathy for his friends and family. As for McQueen himself – well obviously he couldn’t cope and didn’t know where to go for help.

    I know it’s not rational to think this way but on the subject of suicide I regard it as a very cowardly and selfish thing to do.

    Because I have never been depressed I can’t imagine what suicidal despair must be like.

    I just can’t imagine how someone could inflict such horror and guilt on their surviving friends and family.

    I’m not meaning to be offensive here. It’s just how I think about suicide. Maybe as I’ve never been depressed I lack understanding of depression. My attitude towards depression is sort of like “Well get to the doctor and get help”

  6. Simon i too have never been depressed to the point of feeling suicidal and until recently have found it hard not to say “pull yourself together and get help”, and i still maintain that if someone is depressed there are certainly things they can do to help themselves. But in so many severe cases i really don’t think its as easy as that! if you are truely depressed and life seems hopeless some people obviously feel there is no other alternative. The person is not selfish, they are in no fit state to think rationally. Its always very sad to think how lonely and desperate someone must feel to carry it through.

  7. it really gets me that the people who are left behind seem to feel more sorry for themselves than they do for the pain of the person who has decided they wish to end their lives! they’re thinking, oh poor me, i’ve lost so-and-so, he or she shouldn’t have done it, rather than stopping and just imagining how anguished that person must have been. but the next minute they’ll go and watch some movie, or play, or read some novel where someone kills themselves in grief and they go “aaaahh! how sad! what a wonderful person”

  8. Simon Murphy 12 Feb 2010, 3:16pm

    “if you are truely depressed and life seems hopeless some people obviously feel there is no other alternative. The person is not selfish, they are in no fit state to think rationally.”

    I disagree. I think they ARE being selfish.

    They are not being selfish on purpose – they are ill and cannot help themselves and are unable or unwilling to get help. But the fact remains that the people left behind after suicide are the ones who have to deal with the consequences. The suicidal person is not able to take that reality on board, but that’s not to say that the reality does not exist.

    The suicidal person is condemning their friends and relatives to a life of ‘What ifs’ and ‘If only’. Their actions have repercussions on other people.

    Again this is not a condemnation of suicidal people. They are seriously ill. But let’s not pretend they are selfless little victims either.

  9. Simon Murphy 12 Feb 2010, 3:19pm

    “it really gets me that the people who are left behind seem to feel more sorry for themselves than they do for the pain of the person who has decided they wish to end their lives! they’re thinking, oh poor me, i’ve lost so-and-so, he or she shouldn’t have done it, rather than stopping and just imagining how anguished that person must have been.”

    I do not think grief is the same as ‘feeling sorry yourself’ as you seem to be suggesting Chris T. Grief can be a terrible, horrendous thing. And it is demeaning and insulting to regard grieving people as being full of self pity.

    And what benefit does it do to anyone to stop and start imagining the suicidal anguish of someone else? I’d rather not thank you.

  10. “I’m not meaning to be offensive here. It’s just how I think about suicide. Maybe as I’ve never been depressed I lack understanding of depression.”

    Yes, I’ve been depressed and tried suicide by hanging once (obviously failed) and it’s completely beyond me today when I’m in an entirely different place. So I get your point.

    As for it being cowardly, well, I think passing moralizing judgment is always the easiest thing to do. It was a highly personal decision which in my opinion deserves at least respect, where understanding isn’t readily available.

  11. “And what benefit does it do to anyone to stop and start imagining the suicidal anguish of someone else? I’d rather not thank you.”

    You can try to comprehend it with a detached empathy without being sucked in. Perhaps someone can get some consolation from that. I doubt though.

  12. Thank you Lucius, thats very honest and enlightening.

    I think the most important thing to realise is that if you’ve never been truely depressed one is not in a position to comment. Not at all.

  13. Simon Murphy 12 Feb 2010, 3:40pm

    I really am trying to be careful in how I’m phrasing my replies as I understand what a difficult subject this is for some people.

    But I really cannot see why a decision to end one’s own life necessarily deserves respect.

    Obviously the decision to take one’s own life should not be condemned as a person who does it can have a wide variety of reasons for doing so – they may be seriously depressed, mentally ill or physically ill (and here I’m talking about assisted suicide for the terminally ill).

    For a patient with terminal, incurable cancer then they at least have the opportunity to inform their loved ones of their decision and explain why they are doing it. In that case I think there will generally be a lot of understanding and even sympathy, as only a very hard person would want to condemn someone to a slow, agonising inevitable death.

    For a case like Alexander McQueen or Kurt Cobain then it is obviously more to do with severe depression (assisted in Cobain’s case by severe drug addiction). Even though they felt they were unable to get the help they needed, they are still damning their surviving friends and relatives to a life of unanswered questions and regrets.

    And that is nothing to celebrate. Suicide should never be glamourised.

  14. Simon Murphy 12 Feb 2010, 3:41pm

    “if you’ve never been truely depressed one is not in a position to comment. Not at all. ”

    This story is about suicide, not depression. You do not need to be depressed to be touched by suicide.

    And it is perfectly acceptable to have opinions about suicide – even if they are not entirely sympathetic to the suicidal person.

  15. “And that is nothing to celebrate. Suicide should never be glamourised.”

    Agreed. I meant having respect in a way that you don’t necessarily have to agree (or not at all agree) with someone’s choices. Perhaps to honour his choice would be a more appropriate phrasing. In any case it involves acceptance that does not in any way affect your view regarding this subject. The Golden Rule applies heavily here.

    And the issue of help has to always be addressed when discussing depression and suicide. Therapy, counseling or just a good old laugh can make all the difference in the world.

  16. lee wasn’t selfish – he just couldn’t go on living – even if everyone else wanted him to. show the man some respect – not because he killed himself – but because he was a human being who did nothing bad to anyone and was a genius at what he did. simon, you may never have been depressed, but i assure you – you will be at some point in your life – and when you are, maybe then you’ll understand, maybe you’ll even kill yourself – until then, reserve your judgement/opinion, and shut the f**k up about this, your opinions are offensive.

  17. Simon Murphy 12 Feb 2010, 4:27pm

    “simon, you may never have been depressed, but i assure you – you will be at some point in your life – and when you are, maybe then you’ll understand, maybe you’ll even kill yourself – until then, reserve your judgement/opinion, and shut the f**k up about this, your opinions are offensive.”

    My opinions are ‘offensive’ are they?

    Why?

    For mentioning Alexander McQueen’s friends and relatives and loved one, and the fact that they will have to live forever with the consequences of his actions?

    Are you trying to deny that they will have to deal with the aftermath of his suicide? That they will forevermore be left thinking ‘What if I had done more?’ or ‘If only I had called him that day?’ or any number of other questions.

    What’s ‘offensive’ about that. I am not passing judgement on Alexander McQueen.

    But my sympathies are with his loved ones. I don’t see any need to glorify his suicide which is what you seem to be suggesting?

    Kurt Cobain is a musical hero these days who thanks to his suicide is seen as this tortured artist, too sensitive for the world. He has become a sympbol of alienated youth.

    Fair enough, I suppose.

    But I wish people would also remember that he was the father to an 18 month old who will have grown up not having known her father and utterly confused by how a man who claimed to love her, couldn’t stick around for her.

  18. Simon Murphy 12 Feb 2010, 4:37pm

    My opinions are ‘offensive’ are they?

    Why?

    For daring to mention the fact that Alexander McQueen’s friends, relatives and loved ones will have to deal with the aftermath of his decision?

    I hope you’re not trying to suggest that the consequences of his decision will linger with his loved ones long after he is gone? They will be left thinking ‘What if I had called over that day to see him’ or ‘If only I had insisted he stay with me’

    My sympathies are with his loved ones.

    I have not condemned his actions. But I do not understand them. And I don’t see why I should be required to feel understanding or sympathy for his actions. I’ll keep my sympathy for those who need it – his surviving friends and family.

    After Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994 he became a symbol of lost youth; a tortured artist; too sensitive for the world.

    That may be partly true.

    But he was also the father to an 18 month old baby who grew up without knowing her father and imaginably very confused as to why a man who professed to love her, could take his own life in the way that he did.

    I’m sorry if you find this offensive. I don’t think it is.

  19. Simon Murphy 12 Feb 2010, 4:38pm

    Ooooh – repeat – my 1st reply didn’t appear so I rewrote it.

    Double the fun for you all.

  20. “And what benefit does it do to anyone to stop and start imagining the suicidal anguish of someone else? I’d rather not thank you.”

    What benefit? Are you really asking that question? Do you not know anything about the importance and value of empathy? If anyone ends their life, chooses to end their life, the FIRST thing to do, if you care about them, is to seek to understand why, and to do that you MUST empathise. And that must involve taking yourself, as much as you can, to the mental “place” where they were. To say, “I’d rather not. Thank you” is selfish and callous. But you have a right to say it. However, if you do, then you forfeit your right to comment on the suicide . . . because clearly you would be unprepared to seek to understand it.

    I don’t care one jot about McQueen. I don’t care one jot about fashion and Gok Wan and all that shallow superficial nonsense of the cat-walk. BUT I DO know that for this man to have ended his life his mind must have been in an absolute turmoil. Those who cared for him will seek to understand why. They will seek to empathise and find where he was at. But they may fail. For all they know, McQ may have thought of suicide many times long before the death of his mother and for reasons unknown. The death of his mother COULD possibly just have provided him with the occasion for which he had long waited. As it appears he appears not to have left a long explanatory letter, no one will probably ever know.

    Every human being must have the right to end his or her life when he or she wishes. We are all going to die sometime. We are all going to lose others sometime. We must not despise those who choose to leave unexpectedly. Each of us is ultimately alone in this world. We lose loved ones and we acquire more. This is the reality of life.

    I am not, by the way, suicidal myself!

  21. BrazilBoysBlog 12 Feb 2010, 5:03pm

    @16 I can´t see anything particularly offensive in what has been said. So far, in fact, I think the comments have been a very measured, reasoned and restrained discussion on suicide and depression.

    First, my thoughts go out to Lee, his family and friends… Very sad news and indeed shows how close he was to his mother.

    Now the hard part. Suicide. I can see everyone´s point of view on here. I think though that possibly none of them are ´right´. I don´t think there IS a right answer to this issue. Everyone of us is different.

    Personally speaking, I tried to commit suicide as a teen when I was ´outed´ to my parents. (being picked-up by the police whilst cottaging at 14) I was mortified and terrified. At the time, I honestly thought my life was over. Thankfully, my bungled attempt with a bottle of 100 asprins did not work. My parents (ready) acceptance of me being gay did show me that things are (usually) not as bad as you think at that time.

    However, I will admit to suicidal thoughts often since then. I did some training years ago with the Samaritans. One of the things they teach you is that it is not always the ones who talk about it, who will go on to do it. Often, they are just making a cry for help.

    The really serious ones often give out very few clues of their intentions,(as seems to be the case here). I think I fall into that category, and probably so did Lee.

    I would say that, in all honesty, I am probably 60% more likely to die of suicide than anything else!

    It is a daily battle, but I know that one day, I will decide that I really do not want to go on any further. I´ve had enough, simple as that. Yes, I do think about those left behind. But at the end of the day, when I can see no point in going any further, it will be time to go.

    You can argue that this is from depression, and yes I have suffered from this debilitating illness for most of my life… going from incredible highs to incredible lows.. but as I see it, the time will come when I just calmly and rationally add up the pro´s and cons, and the pro´s win. Thankfully, it´s not yet.

    Day by day…

    Clearly Lee was at this place and felt that he could not go on living anymore. That life, (and the quality of his life) was not something he could endure any more.

    I feel desperately sad for him and his family, but it has to be, (and was) his choice to make.

  22. So, Simon Murphy is trying to wind people up again – take my advice and ignore him – I once wasted time giving him evidence that he was screaming for about why his opinions that he expressed in his usual abusive postings were wrong whereupon he simply ignored the evidence he had demanded. He’s a very silly boy!

  23. Jean-Paul Bentham 12 Feb 2010, 9:52pm

    Frankly, I’m confused as to what the issue is here. If the PN headline makes any sense at all, it means that Lee McQueen wanted to have his funeral alongside his mother’s.

    As for the comments, the serious ones are certainly worth considering.

    I would be inclined to wait for the results of an autopsy rather than attempting to imagine what was going on in McQueen’s mind, e.g. he may have received some bad news from his doctor about his own physical health; or he may have been bankrupt..who knows?

    The news of his death has now made headlines in all major papers and magazines. The fashion world is in a state of shock, no doubt about that. If that was Lee’s intention (?), as it was his trademark, this can only be called his final success.

    I have already expressed my sympathy to his family, loved ones and friends on the other three threads.

  24. I have read this entire thread and to be honest the more I read the more angry I got. Someone took their own life, and believe me when I say that unless you have ever suffered from depression you are in no position to comment, or pass judgement on anyone who has found themseleves in such a state of despaire that suicide is – for them – the only answer. They are not thinking about their family and friends because at that point in time it is very difficult to think rationally at all.

    I suffer from depression, and have been very close to the edge on more than one ocassion, somehow I have always found a way back, but it’s not easy, and for Alexander he obviously could not.

    Show the man some respect, and by showing him respect you’ll show his family and friends respect as well.

    One more thing – Simon – “Because I have never been depressed I can’t imagine what suicidal despair must be like”, you’re right, you do not know, so why don’t you shut up about subjects you have not got a clue about.

  25. Comment 20 – an well reasoned argument.
    Comment 21 – I know exactly what you mean.

    I believe my life is my own to decide how to live. It’s also my decision to end it, if I so choose.

    Everything we do has an impact on others, from farting in a busy lift to donating money to charity. Some impacts we are aware of, others are harder to see or more difficult to judge. Rationality usually defines our decison making process and suicide is just another personal choice which, like any other, can be either rationally or irrationally entered into.

    In cases such as this, where there was apparently little sign of lee’s intentions and no suicide note, it may be more helpful for those left behind to consider that the pain/mental anguish the deceased was obviously experiencing is now over. The alternative seems to be to tie themselves in possibly unsolvable knots about what they could or couldn’t have done to prevent it, which will never change what has happened.

    As far as suicide being selfish? The OED defines selfish as an “concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure at the expense of consideration for others”. As a dead person can neither experience pleasure nor benefit from profit it would seem that theories which suggest the act of suicide is selfish are flawed.

  26. Simon Murphy 13 Feb 2010, 1:32am

    Philip: you say:

    “Simon – “Because I have never been depressed I can’t imagine what suicidal despair must be like”, you’re right, you do not know, so why don’t you shut up about subjects you have not got a clue about. ”

    I was merely expressing my opinion about the topic. I hardly see the harm in asking the questions in my head.

    I don’t understand why someone would commit suicide. It’s perfectly reasonable to express that.

    There’s no use in being precious in talking sbout it.

  27. BrazilBoysBlog 13 Feb 2010, 3:37am

    @26 I agree Simon. I have found this to be one of the most interesting and thought-provoking comment threads for a long time. Lee´s death is tragic. If it makes us all think, examine and maybe even challenge each others views on suicide, then this thread is worthwhile. We are all different and have different views on this subject. I´m not claiming to be right, just right for me.

  28. My Uncle committed a tragic suicide that was all over the news. Stupid people started comparing his death to the movie THE HAPPENING… He was so depressed and down. No one knows what someone goes through inside – sadness. No one should judge.

  29. Simon you are not asking questions you are expressing an opinion, and also passing judgement “I disagree. I think they ARE being selfish”, is what you wrote.

    Maybe you should use the internet for one of it’s greatest features – reseach. Asking questions is OK but maybe you need to ask the right questions.

    As for being precious about it, it is exactly because of people like you and you dumb questions and statments, that people like me and thousands of others have such a hard time with this illness. “Well get to the doctor and get help”, what the hell do you think we are trying to do, just sit there and hope it goes away.

  30. Eddy: “I am not, by the way, suicidal myself!”

    Hope springs eternal.

  31. I’ll pass on commenting on RobN’s attempt at wit, which is down to his ususal standard.

    But I’m left gasping by some of the posts here about suicide. S’murph, it comes as no surprise to learn that because you’ve never been depressed, or experienced suicidal feelings yourself, you find it difficult to symapthise with the suicide’s choice. That’s entirley at one with you egocentric and monomaniacal world view that says that if something’s not of concern or relevance to you, then it’s not worth considering. By your argument, straight people who have no experience of desire for a member of their own sex would have no obligation to consider the experiences of gay people!

    If you don’t understand depression, go and find out something about it! Read a book, talk to somebody, anything! You might try Andrew Solomon’s ‘The Noonday Demon’, or Louis Wolpert’s ‘Malignant Sadness’. There’s lots – you just need to MAKE THE EFFORT.

    As for suicide, try thinking about what it entails to entertain the thought of your own oblivion, let alone enact it. The suicide’s perception of their reality is so appalling to them, so at oods with their sense of identity, that he or she prefers annihilation. That may be because they are ill, either physically or mentally, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes it is a supremely rational choice. Look at the people who threw themselves from the twin towers, if you want an extreme demonstration of that.

    What follows in the wake of a suicide is often tremendous grief, upset, and anger. There have been suicides in my own family, and believe me, the cost for those that remain is high. But it doesn’t preclude sadness and compassion for the person that killed themselves. It’s not a competition about who’s suffered the most. It’s stupid and futile to be thinking about whether we feel sorrier for Lee McQueen or his remaining family.

    Look at people who actually try to do something about sucicide, as opposed to bashing ill-informed crap into their computers. Samaritans being a fine example. One of Samaritans’ core values is that they don’t dispute any person’s right to end their own life. What they do is offer an opportunity to reflect upon that choice before enacting it. And that means listening to, and empathising with, how that person feels. It may be a great pity that Mr McQueen didn’t feel he could pick up the phone and talk to them.

    As to the point of thinking about all this stuff, S’murph, the value would come if anyone you cared about turned to you in a moment of deep personal distress. But I’m not fancying their chances with your current thinking.

  32. Sister Mary clarence 15 Feb 2010, 5:26am

    “I regard it as a very cowardly and selfish thing to do.”

    I’m afraid this comment speaks reams about you Simon, reflecting you overall lack of understanding, tolerance, empathy and forgiving of other people.

    Generally people commit suicide because they are at the end of the line and can see no other escape or respite from their problems. All their potential is lost. All that they ever would be, never will. Laughter, happiness, friendship and love, all of those sensations that they would surely have had, are extinguished at the moment they take their life, because they have reached a point so low, they believe they are incapable of experience joy again. It is cripplingly sad ….. and your response …. ‘cowardly and selfish’.

    Your compassion overwhelms me.

  33. Mbosaramba 15 Feb 2010, 4:09pm

    He was crazy. Certainly. Who in their healthy mind will hung himself BEFORE his mother’s funeral? No normal person will – even AFTER! However I feel sorry for this crazy guy.

  34. Mbosaramba 15 Feb 2010, 4:34pm

    Many people stupidly equated greief with depression. The stupidity is very clear for any healthy person who KNOW the difference between healthy mind and psychiatric one.

    As a person who lost his very dear and wonderful mother, and who deeply suffered the loss because of the grief, I KNOW the difference, and for 100% I can declare to anybody in the world that grief has nothing to do with depression.

    While I was in grief, I never was depressed because I functioned normally in society, and I daily went on my duties and take care of myself and others.

    In the case of a suicided man – everything is diffrent: such individuals loosing their mind and becomes crazy. That’s the fact. What else to discuss? Absolutely nothing!

  35. Not so, Mbosaramba. You would like things to be as simple as you have described . . . but they are not. The opinion you have stated is equal to that of others who would prefer to stick their heads deep into the sand and simply not know about the complexities of life.

  36. BrazilBoysBlog 16 Feb 2010, 5:28am

    @ Mbosaramba “In the case of a suicided man – everything is diffrent: such individuals loosing their mind and becomes crazy. That’s the fact. What else to discuss? Absolutely nothing!”

    Well, now we know! Thank you for that highly clinical verdict, Doctor! Very helpful.

    What WOULD be helpful I think is to not come on here, making pronouncements in a kind of ´one size fits all manner´ to a highly complex problem, which is clearly not the same for everyone. You were grief-stricken but did not attempt suicide, because to commit suicide, you have to be ´a crazy person´….

    O.K.A.Y…

    …and where did that little gem come from? The ACME DIY PSYCHOLOGY Manual?

    What complete and utter tosh…. and please don´t declare a subject over and closed, when you barely know enough to CONTRIBUTE to it.

    Things in life are seldom so simple and there are many shades of grey to things. One-size does NOT fit all, and as I said before, what is right for you many be very wrong for someone else.

    Maybe to approach things with a slightly less closed-mind might make you appreciate this?

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