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Did rapper Andre Johnson cut off his penis, in much the same way as people cut their wrists – as a suicide attempt, hoping they will bleed to death? Or did he cut off his penis in an impulsive altered state - then realize what he did and jump off the building because he didn’t want to live without it?
Andre’s cold-hearted rapper friends, who are pretending they saw nothing, know nothing, and barely know him, say they weren’t doing “hard drugs.” But, even ‘soft drugs’, like marijuana or alcohol, could have been enough to push him over the edge, if he had underlying mental problems. Even a psychosis alone, such as manic-depressive/bipolar illness or paranoid schizophrenia, could have caused him to become delusional and think that his penis is ‘bad’ and needed to be lopped off.
Self-mutilation is an expression of self-loathing. The person wants to punish himself by physically hurting himself, typically through cutting or burning. When it’s very specific, such as Andre cutting off his penis, there is additional symbolic meaning. He was trying to disown his sex organ – perhaps because he is ashamed of something sexual that happened to him, or that he did. Or, he may have been rejected by someone he wanted to have sex with, and took out his frustration on himself – as if to denounce himself as a man and to prevent future urges that he fears won’t be fulfilled.
It’s also significant that his latest rap video came out the day before this tragedy. In it, he covers his penis with his hand several times, in a move that seems almost more protective than sexy. He may have been disappointed by the reaction to the video – or lack thereof – and despondently believed his career was over.
Even Andre may never be sure of all that was going through his mind at the time. But, one thing is for sure. His self-castration has ignited an epidemic of castration anxiety, which is evident in the sick jokes people can’t seem to stop themselves from making at his expense. If he wasn’t suicidal originally, he likely will be when he realizes what he’s done is irreparable. Most men would find it almost impossible to continue living without a penis, but a macho rapper without his penis is a sad contradiction, indeed. What he needs now is intensive psychiatric care, not heartless friends and insensitive pundits.
Carole Lieberman, M.D., America's Psychiatrist, is a 3-time Emmy award-winner, TV personality and radio talk show host. She's an award-winning author of three books, including her latest, Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets.
For more information on Dr. Lieberman check out her website DrCarole.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @DrCaroleMD