The heartbreaking documentary aired last night on Channel 4 - Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death
Updated: Jan 29
This week has been tough for me because there have been three posts that I've had to write on here that have brought up so many memories from the past, and last night's programme about Caroline Flack stirred up even more.
The documentary entitled 'Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death' was the second in a row to be aired this week about the difficult subject of mental ill-health and suicide.
This is now the third post I've written about Caroline, but I think each one is important because there is so much that can be learnt as we go forward from her tragic death.
The film gave us an insight into Caroline's life and career which took her from an ambitious young actor/singer to a world famous X Factor and Love Island television presenter.
There were also many insights into Caroline's mental health and fragile nature that we didn't previously know, with twin sister Jody and mother Christine openly discussing facets of Caroline's personality - characteristics that Caroline dreaded ever becoming public knowledge.
As well as Christine and Jody, the documentary featured many of Caroline's friends, former agents and colleagues, with many of them discussing the problems that she faced regarding addiction to, and backlash from, everything that goes with fame - particularly relating to the tabloids and social media.
Mother, Christine says that you could never hold a conversation with her because she was constantly on her phone reading comments and messages that were written about her.
These comments were very often damning and damaging and were especially horrendous after the whole 'physical abuse' case with boyfriend Lewis Burton, after a row between the couple resulted in police reporting afterwards that Caroline's flat resembled something out of a horror movie.
Burton was interestingly absent from last night's programme, even though he did stand up for Caroline at the time of the incident, requesting that the court case against Caroline be dropped. But the fact that he was openly dating someone else within five months of Caroline's death doesn't look very good, and I can understand why her family wouldn't want him to be involved.
I mentioned relationships in my last post about Caroline, and it would seem that they were triggers for her mental ill-health, specifically depression but her family also reported her to be very 'up and down' and combined with the almost manic rage that prompted the whole court case fiasco, it's left me wondering if she might have even been an undiagnosed bipolar.
Self-harm was also mentioned, with Caroline's blood being discovered all over the place after the incident in her flat. Her mother informs us that she cut her arm so badly that she had to have plastic surgery on it. It would seem that these issues would all have come out in the press who were already behaving like starving vultures and picking at every move and action that she made. Christine thinks that the fear of exposure of mental illness was the catalyst that drove Caroline to her death.
It seems that the string of disastrous breakups and negative press all combined together to create the perfect storm where Caroline was vulnerable mentally and couldn't face the thought of losing her public image and persona as well as her career as a television presenter.
The interviews with Caroline's mother were particularly heart-rending because you could feel the terrible grief and heartache as she recounted the events leading up to her daughter's suicide. I always feel so desperately sad for the mother's, because I think it is they that experience the greatest sense of grief and loss, but like Joe Lyons' mother who spoke out yesterday in the 'Our Silent Emergency' documentary, Christine Flack also had some wonderful and insightful comments.
She said that even though mental illness is talked about much more now, people who suffer from depression, self-harm, anxiety and other illnesses don't feel comfortable talking about it, and she's absolutely right. There's still so much stigma attached to it all and that's why I'm so open about my experience because I want my godchildren's generation to grow up in a world where having a mental illness is seen as the same as having any kind of physical illness.
We must learn from those who leave us and share our experiences to help future generations. Caroline left us so much to consider in the wake of her suicide, and a few points in particular stand out for me.
There are three main things that I think we must learn from Caroline's death and these are:
* Fame is very dangerous if you aren't mentally equipped to deal with the downside of media intrusion and negativity.
* Social media can be very damaging to a person's mental health and should be either avoided completely or controlled and moderated to avoid feelings of self-doubt and personal attack.
* Being in unhealthy relationships can cause serious harm to a person's mental health and they should be engaged in with care and caution to avoid heartbreak and fall-out at all costs.
The most bizarre thing happened once I'd finished watching the documentary last night - I was looking for a video about how relationships can be damaging and one about Caroline came up. It's entitled 'Caroline Flack on the Power of Being Single' and she says the following;
"Being single shouldn't be seen as a sign of a weakness. Actually, when you're on your own you're more powerful, cause you're not reliant on someone else, and when you're single and happy that's when you feel your best!"
Here, here Caroline! Well said! I love this interview because she's absolutely right and we must never be lulled into thinking that relationships are the only thing that will make us happy because being single is when you feel your best!
If you would like to watch the full documentary you can find it here .
I have also added the brilliant YouTube video to the home page.
Please keep the suggestions for posts and discussions coming, and thank you all for the comments and messages of support which spur me on daily in my quest to help others!
Thanks for reading,
Speak to you soon,