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Gia Allemand: Does Being on a Reality Show Cause Depression?
Gia Allemand, a former contestant on ABCs’s popular “The Bachelor” reality dating program, died a hospital after what appeared to be a suicide attempt. Reality television stars are frequently reported to exhibit unusual behavior, but this news may be the most distressing of all. Does reality television, with its promise of unearned and instant fame and fortune attract damaged people, or does being on a reality television show create aggression, depression, and mania in otherwise adjusted participants?
We spoke with a few experts to find out the answer to this question.
No one knows what Gia’s life and relationships were truly like. No one. People tend to judge, compartmentalize, and categorize. The fact is even the most non-judgmental of us is raised with categorizing messages. It is most important to know that a person who chooses a permanent solution to temporary problems sees no way out. They feel hopeless and that there is no person in their depressed lives to turn to. Often, a suicide is triggered by a traumatic event such as a romantic relationship breakup, death of a close loved one, or career/finances gone south. We don’t know. America must find it in their hearts to be compassionate and understanding for those who are suffering.
Dr. Fran Walfish
Reality shows by their nature, attract a certain personality. However the contestants are given personality tests as these shows believe the more the dramatic the result, the better the show. Bad behavior makes in their view, good TV. For instance, the producer of Big Brother’, Allison Grodner’s mother, is a therapist with great input.
Contestants are screened for Volativity. And the shows are possibily rigged, as the below indicates, while additionally covering the lax testing procedures.
Jasmine Fiore, the reality star murdered by her reality star boyfriend in ‘l Auberge, a Del Mar resort hotel, (Del Mar is a small beach town, and since 1999, my hometown.)
Jasmine’s murder was particularly gruesome.
I have met some individual therapists used for the psychological testing, and they are not people I would use. But then, the oversight for the entire practice, is, at least in California, almost laughable. Certainly in my area.
In Gia’s particular case, she entered into a ‘reality competition’ rather than an average reality show. The difference is important to notice simply because reality competitions are about the breaking down of the competitor as opposed to the building up of the competitor as we see in other beauty competitions such as Miss America, etc . . . where the prize is the title as opposed to the man or woman, as in the case of The Bachelorette.
Not only is it fame-seeking but its also prize-seeking when entering a reality competition. Reality television is two-fold. On one hand, it’s considered desirable to be chosen because you are who you are and the dream is that you are chosen because you are so fabulous! On the other hand, are you seen as fabulous by others or are you just fabulously unstable, dramatic and unpredictable?
From a distance, we love shiny, pretty people . . . it’s natural. We are attracted to health, wellness and prosperity. Our obsession with reality television and its stars is that most of us turn off our televisions feeling a little more happy about who we are and feel a little more validated in our lifestyle and choices. When suicide happens, we don’t need a cast of characters, real life or other, to feel the pang of sorrow knowing a young life has passed . . . that’s the reality.
Kimberly Friedmutter Ch.t Life management expert www.kimberlyfriedmutter.com