Matt C. Abbott
Mel Gibson's (and my) demons
By Matt C. Abbott
July 18, 2010

Mel Gibson's demons are my demons and my demons are Mel's demons. Well, sort of. Allow me to explain.

I don't wish to per se defend Mel's behavior in recent times — he's made some poor choices, including driving drunk and his toxic relationship with Oksana Grigorieva — but I can't help but think that, based on his outbursts, he may have a psychological disorder in addition to his alcoholism. Bipolar disorder is a distinct possibility, and I don't say this lightly.

You see, while I don't suffer from bipolar disorder, I have battled depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for a number of years, and I can tell you, it's no picnic. There are days when I just want to throw in the towel, so to speak. The internalized pain, which I've usually been able to hide from friends and acquaintances, is sometimes severe. In fact, it's a rare day when I experience total peace; you could say I'm a "noisy soul." And, of course, these "demons" have adversely affected my jobs and relationships. (I don't drink alcohol, but if I did, I'd likely be an alcoholic.) It's not something one can just "pray away," either. Believe me. I've tried.

Now, please understand: I'm not suggesting that a psychological disorder or an addiction gives the person suffering from that disorder/addiction carte blanche to sin or commit a crime; or that it absolves him or her of being morally responsible for particular acts. However, it may, under certain circumstances, lessen culpability from a moral perspective.

Also, in no way am I suggesting that my sufferings are worse than others. I'm no victim. There are many people whose crosses are much heavier than mine. Still, to me, my sufferings are significant and, at times, debilitating.

Back to Mel's situation. Is he a racist? I don't know; hopefully not. Is he an anti-Semite? I don't know; hopefully not. Did he physically abuse Oksana on at least one occasion? The police investigation is apparently ongoing. I don't feel sorry for him, that's for darn sure. Yet I do feel sorry for his children and siblings, including his brother Chris, whom I quoted several years ago, during the height of the Passion of the Christ controversy, in a column titled "Mel Gibson's brother thanks rabbi, defends father." I'm sure this is a difficult time for them.

Mel's a talented actor and director (and no, he's not a good role model for Catholics), but he needs spiritual and psychological help, if he isn't already seeking it. It's nothing to be ashamed of — I had to seek it. And it has nothing to do with being "right-wing" or "left-wing." Just think of what often happens to those who don't seek help when they should.

Pray that none of us succumb to our own demons. more thing: I'm normally not one for ad-hominem attacks — forgive me — but I must say that the pro-life, pro-family Christian-bashing Frank Rich of The New York Times is still a jackass.

Related link:

"Mel Gibson: Wake up, Samson, the media is upon you!"

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)


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