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Sinead O'Connor Hospitalised Following an Unsettling Facebook Post

USA Today
Facebook is a breeding ground for ground axes and passive aggression, and it's all usually fairly tiresome, but every once in a while somebody posts something personal and the implications are as severe as they come. Sinead O'Connor has battled with mental health issues in the past, and spoke of having attempted to take her own life in 1999. Last night she put up a lengthy Facebook post which explained that she had taken an overdose, and that she was staying at a hotel in Ireland under a different name.

Since then the police have managed to track O'Connor down, and she's now 'receiving medical treatment' and is 'safe and well'. The full post is nothing short of harrowing. O'Connor underwent a hysterectomy in August, and cancelled all of her planned July shows due to her son being seriously ill. Both of these things are mentioned in the post, but she also speaks about being betrayed by those closest to her, about not mattering to anyone and suggesting that nobody would ever even know of her death if she didn't announce it on Facebook.

O'Connor had posted a few other extremely personal posts on her Facebook account in the run up to this most recent one. Some of them detailed an apparent attempt by some of her extended family to separate her from her son, as well as suggesting that he has been emotionally and sexually abused, detailing a lengthy correspondence with the police on the matter

She also appealed for a job and a place to live a few times, book-ending each of these posts with an email address, although it's unclear how authentic it is. It's fair to say that she rarely shied away from discussing her personal life on the platform, but over the past week or so the posts have become more in-depth, more serious and far more troubling. In one of the longest posts she also declared herself finished with making music.

It's hard to untangle the narrative and figure out exactly what went on purely from reading through the posts, many of them reference first names only, and some are even directly aimed at the people involved. What is abundantly clear is that O'Connor is going through a severe crisis, and last night's post was the culmination of that. 

Speaking in a broader context, social media posts that move into such personal territory are often stigmatised, terms like 'trigger warning' have come to be more synonymous with people who exaggerate, or even falsely claim mental health problems in order to draw more attention onto themselves. The fact of the matter is, as this incident shows, it always needs to be taken seriously. There is no one way to call for help, and even if the person has chosen to do it on a platform like Facebook, that does not diminish the chance that it's genuine, not everyone will think to appeal to Samaritans, The Crisis Team or the Suicide Hotline first, and in fact, an overwhelming number of sufferers don't

In O'Connor's case, it would appear that her close relationship with her fans has prompted her to treat them as something of a support group, people who will listen to what she has to say and offer their sympathies whenever something goes wrong. Even this is a bit of a reach, and I wouldn't want to comment with any authority on a situation I'm so removed from, but what is clear is that she needed help, and at least it now appears that she's getting it. It should be a lesson to all of us to never dismiss or disregard an emotional outburst, regardless of where it emanates from.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Sinead O'Connor Hospitalised Following an Unsettling Facebook Post Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, November 30, 2015 Rating: 5

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