Philip Seymour Hoffman is another soul who has lost their life to drugs and addiction. I am not qualified or know enough about Hoffman’s circumstances to talk about it with any conviction. However, I am allowed an opinion on why people resort to drugs and that is what I will write.
Val Kilmer tweeted shortly after the announcement of Hoffman’s death: “Blu day, Philip Seymour Hoffman od’d. Addiction comes fr trying to escape th pain of living. We all struggle with this but Drugs never help.” (Sic)
Some tweeters have considered this (reminding people of the dangers of drugs) to be insensitive and untimely. They have a point, as they mourn. However, I believe this statement, untimely or not, to be true. I also believe it wasn’t meant in an insensitive or judgemental way – but is simply a reminder to people that drugs are never the answer.
The majority of us will never experience taking illegal drugs or painkillers. We won’t experience addiction/a reliance on these drugs to feel stable. Some of us will even be lucky enough to never have considered these an option. Some of us will even feel so in control that they can take drugs and “handle their high” but I feel that is a dangerous road to take. I include alcohol in this, especially if you believe you have an obsessive personality.
Like I said, I cannot speak about Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger or even Amy Winehouse’s circumstances in particular, as I don’t know – but one thing I feel I do know is that the reason people start is because they feel there lives can be better: whether you live an “ok” life but want it to be the best or what I sympathise more with is being sick of the cards your life is being dealt and are driven to what you feel is a last resort. (Remember: just because someone lives a lifestyle that you may love to have e.g. a Hollywood actor, musician or sportsman, it is all relative and they don’t come without their own stresses.) Often, what your occupation and passion is can become one way of escaping your troubles and that is why I believe there are so many absolute geniuses of their trades, who seem to live a second life.
Going down that route of illegal drugs is not a sign of weakness but a sign of helplessness: a cry for help and it is something nobody is immune to, in this case. Being in that position, you can become narrow-minded and obsessed that you have all of the answers within your head; when in fact, what you need is somebody else’s help, a professional’s. “Help” isn’t seeing a therapist once or twice. It is long, drawn-out and can be a very difficult process. Perseverance.
It is a shame that we are increasingly being reminded of people losing their battles with drugs, addiction and depression. Some people realise they need to talk to someone before it is too late. Some people talk to someone and then relapse days, weeks, months or even years later And it is too late before some people realise. It can happen to anyone: young, old, rich poor.
It happens. I believe the blame can only be attributed to one thing and that is the lack of awareness of what to do in this situation.
If you want to “escape the pain of living”, talk to someone and avoid prescribing your own medicine.
Philip Seymour Hoffman knew he had a problem and went to rehab a few times over a number of years. Still, he couldn’t get completely through it.
Rest in peace Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sadly, you won’t be the last who has to suffer.