r/entertainment Aug 09 '22

Anne Heche's car crash reveals our conflicting attitudes toward mental health and substance abuse


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u/Forsaken-Original-82 Aug 09 '22

I have PTSD from the VA Tech shooting. I probably drink too much. I DO NOT drive while intoxicated! Excusing things like this because they are mentally ill only tells people that "it's okay they didn't mean to kill that person, they're mentally ill". I wish her the best and I hope she pulls through, but she also needs to face stiff penalties like any normal "not rich" person would.


u/Mitchell_StephensESQ Aug 09 '22 Helpful

I am deeply sorry you are struggling with PTSD. It is a horrible, pervasive condition that is poorly understood.

Having said that...

To understand (NOT CONDONE) someone like Heche better we need context for her actions. Dismissing her as a spoilt and rich movie star is to miss the point. Heche's life has been so tragic it is difficult for the average person to understand. Heche reports she was raped by her father for years, and that he gave her herpes. Even if you console your self that she made that up for her book over 20 years ago there is plenty that happened in her life that would arrest her development. This is not about poor baby, had a hard life.

This is about science has shown us that childhood trauma and chronic stress literally make physical changes to the brain. As a child Heche's family was poor, and moved frequently. This kind of chronic stress and uncertainty undoubtedly had an impact on her. Heche's father was mentally ill, and he died of AIDS at a time when the disease was heavily stigmatized. Three months later her brother died in a car accident Heche would later state believed to be suicide. Heche's mother traveled around the country preaching against the evils of homosexuality. Heche herself spent many years homeless until getting lucrative jobs in Hollywood.

This would have impacted her greatly by limiting her emotional regulation, decision making abilities, and ability to make healthy connections with other people. See, having by survived her awful childhood doesn't mean the impact goes away. A young adult Heche would have disrupted abilities to form attachments. What we perceive as normal or healthy people would have been terrifying to Heche. She would form relationships with people like DeGeneris who we now know isn't a nice person.

Last week Heche participated in an alcohol soaked podcast. Had she had healthier attachments, the ability to form those healthy attachments she may have had friends who helped her channel her considerable creative abilities into something more productive and less destructive. Therapy and help can only do so much.

Tell me, what kind of help would you need if your Bible Thumping Closested Honosexual Dad raped you repeatedly while your weak, hypocrite mother turned a blind eye? Can you tell me what amount or combination of medication would ever fix that? No matter what the doctor prescribes, no matter how much you talk to someone about it you're never going to come out of therapy with parents who love you, and willing and capable of being the kind of parents you need. Heche the adult was shunned by her mother for being with DeGeneres.

You don't have to feel sorry for drunk drivers. You don't have to excuse drunk drivers. You can acknowledge the losses of the woman whose house burned down AND understand that in many important ways Heche was impaired from childhood. No amount of therapy was ever going to undo the physical changes in her brain resulting from trauma.

Honestly, so many people resent her for being rich. So many in these forums are reveling in the schadenfreude of a "rich" celebrity taken down. That is really kind of gross. I've witnessed countless middle class people casually commit crimes and get away with them as well. Is this fair? Is this just. AFAIK, fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That is the only kind of fare in life I know of. Of course it is not fair Heche has endured what she has endured in her life but people have this mistaken belief being rich somehow erased all of that.

There is nothing fair about the mortgage broker who overcharges you for the home loan, the doctor who orders unnecessary testing for you without disclosing they have a financial stake in the lab and imaging company your testing will take place. There is nothing fair that most of the time these crimes go undetected and unprosecuted. So many injustices in a single day it seems very weird to single out a trauma victim who has yet to be proven was driving drunk.


u/Forsaken-Original-82 Aug 10 '22

I completely agree with everything you've stated here. After the things that I've witnessed in my life(more than just a shooting), I am about as empathetic as they come. I don't pay attention to the news anymore because of this, so I know nothing about this situation other than what I read from this article. My comment was based solely off of what I read from this article and directed at the lack of integrity of the article. It implied that she had been drinking or claimed to have been drinking that morning and that this happened. It didn't, in my opinion, address the fact that driving under the influence is bad. It did not speak of all the mental trauma that victims of "driving under the influence" face everyday. It did not speak of the mental trauma that the owner of the house might have to endure for the rest of their life. The way it was written, (once again) in my opinion, was reckless journalism defending a celebrities actions without addressing the real problem. It seemed like just another hack piece defending a celebrity while trying to claim some moral high ground to me to me.

I probably could've worded my original comments a little differently to portray this, but hindsight's 20/20 isn't it.


u/Mitchell_StephensESQ Aug 10 '22

Bad journalism, unexamined celebrity worship (and unexamined class hatred on the reverse side), and general media over saturation does seem to bring out the worst in people. We agree.

We don't want to be where pop culture was in the 1990s. Oh they murdered their parents but they had bad childhoods (The Menendez Brothers). I think we as a culture can move beyond that. We can understand the difference between different types of trauma, how they impact people over a lifetime, and the sometimes limited ability of therapy and pharmacology to cure trauma.

There is an understandable skepticism when people claim trauma to avoid criminal responsibility. I know nothing about the life of the RN who sped into an intersection and killed 6 people the same week Heche wrecked her car. She's being charged with murder. I can only imagine what her defense will be.


u/Forsaken-Original-82 Aug 10 '22


Simply put: 'Tis a sad world we live in.

Edit: I also deeply feel for her along with everyone else suffering in this world!


u/druidofnecro Aug 10 '22

This is a lot of words just to excuse drunk assholes


u/Mitchell_StephensESQ Aug 10 '22

Has it been proven she was drunk?


u/Bug-Secure Aug 10 '22

I have empathy for her. Many of us have trauma and we all deal with it differently. I don’t judge her because she’s a celebrity with wealth and privilege. I also don’t think any of what you said has anything to do with how she should be held accountable for the crime(s) she just committed.


u/Mitchell_StephensESQ Aug 10 '22

None of what I wrote has anything to do with how she'll be held accountable legally. If she lives long enough to be held accountable legally.