happiness

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

can i just say one thing?/mental illness loves a good beehive

before you dive into this post, let me just say, while i am not a doctor nor am i a mental health professional, i am indeed a professional hairdresser.  i'm more of a 'atop the head' specialist, rather than an 'inside the head' specialist.  keep that in mind as you read; this is my opinion, my perspective.

there has been a lot of media coverage on the death of singer Amy Winehouse.  she was found dead in her apartment last weekend.  there has been much talk of her drug addiction, i've heard radio talk show hosts comment on how unsurprising her death is, i've seen sarcasm over her death and drug use on fb and online media outlets, i had a conversation with a woman yesterday who was rather frustrated at the air time her death and lifestyle have had this week.  in light of the killings in Norway, Miss Winehouse's dramatic passing seemed trivial.  she chose her environment, her drugs, her ex-husband, her early exit from rehab programs; meanwhile the young people in Norway did not choose to be in a high-risk situation, it came to them.

yet these stories are closer related than they seem.  mental illness, depression and psychosis.  tell me, who chooses this?  who chooses death?  mental illness is real.  life is not so simply explained that some people are inherently bad, selfish, and lazy.  i never met amy winehouse, of course, she may have been inherently wicked, but it seems to me that she was probably looking for a way to cope with herself.  if she had the skills to make healthy choices, and couldn't despite her brain knowing what she should do, but wasn't emotionally capable at times, imagine her inner pain and frustration. 

now, take any disdain you have for this celebrity-remember, this was her livelihood, music and performing, we, as a culture, have asked to know about her private life-and remember that she is a sibling and a daughter.  what if she were your daughter.  what if your daughter's bi-polar disorder took over her life and squeezed all her common sense out, stealing her from you, as well as from herself.  tell me how much you don't care about your daughter.  tell me how much she, as a sister, was so selfish and entitled.  she's 27 now, at the time of her death, but think back to her childhood.  how you fed her at your breast, attended to her every care with wonder and amazement.  how you revelled in all her developments, how she first made eye contact with you, and knew you as her mother, how she sat up alone, then walked, all the while, lighting up when she saw you, how fun it was to put her first ponytail in her hair, how you love to see it grow.  think of how your heart ached at her failures and when you couldn't kiss her heartaches away anymore.  think of the gift of a voice and music you watched grow in your little child, and how it touched the hearts of people you'd never even dream of.

no, i have no idea if any of that were true for amy winehouse.  she does have a family who love her, devastated by her death.  addiction and mental illness, in my mind, are often coupled for a scary and torturous existence.  i understand trying to cope with a sort of un-named pain.  as a teenager i would distract myself by listening to music if i was alone, but really spent as much time as i could with my friends.  in my late-teens and 20's i kept a very detailed diary of my angst (ooh, it's a pathetic and comical read, now!), i made art and stayed out of the house, then i smoked, i dabbled in the excitement of the downtown nightlife... now, i eat.  a lot.  i've gained 20 pounds since march.  not the direction i need to be moving.  i'm embarrassed of the way i look, how big my belly is.  my body hurts, especially my feet.  it's ugly.  i know that.  i feel it in the way some people look at me.  i hear it everywhere, talk. about fat.  and i know just how unhealthy it is to over eat, and especially to eat such fake-o foods.  i can be in the drive-thru thinking, 'what am i doing here?  i'll just order a soda, or just a sandwich, i don't need this food.  am i even hungry?  but i do need it.  i eat compulsively.  it isn't who i am, but it gets in the way of me living my life as who i am.  it pains my family to see me so fat.  it pains me.  it isn't fun.  yet i haven't been able to make myself better.  so.  do you hate me for it?  are you disgusted when you see me eat?  i know.  i don't like to watch fat people eat, either.  it's not pretty.  and i AM a fat people.  you know what? i don't want to be fat.  i don't want to weigh two hundred seventy pounds, double what i should.  but right now, this is my reality.  truthfully, i want to be de-fat-ified.   and i do know HOW to do it. 
what will tip me back up on my feet (ACK!  I look like a weeble!)? 

i'm not sure. maybe amy winehouse, and the norwegian crazy guy.  yes, i am huger than the both of 'em put together, but they are waaaay nutser than me.

I'll be wearing a beehive hairdo today, and as many days as i can swing it, to remind myself of the importance of mental health care.  mental illness loves a good beehive.  and because i don't wanna go to rehab, i said no, no no.  I've loved Amy Winehouse's hair, almost as much as I love my daughter's, my Suvi's, hair. 

(i found this photo from google image, then cropped to edit out her tatt and lightened, to show off her 'do.)

**I am in no way saying that we are not, as individuals, regardless of our lot in life, responsible for our own choices.  Yes, consequences are real, are important, in some cases, lethal.  I am suggesting that we let some love out into the world with a huge beehive on our head and see what comes of it.  If you are struggling with depression, as I do, please seek help.  I take a medication, and need fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and proper rest.  The only part of my regimine that I am faithfully following is my med.  Yes, improvement is on the horizon for me.  Other parts of my healing are time/conversations with my dear friends, reading, blogging, and caring for my family.  And wearing a beehive!!!!!

18 comments:

Leanne said...

BRILLIANT. Absolutely BRILLIANT.

The thing is, we make so many easy judgements. Especially when peoples' choices are different than our own. But just because you can't see mine, doesn't mean they're not there. And just because Amy wore hers on the outside, doesn't mean she was any different, than me, actually. Except that she could sing. God bless her.

At the very least, remember that we all live in glass houses. Remember that we need to love each other at our core. Instantly. Without question. When we feel ourselves jumping to a place of anger, or disdain, STOP. Making those judgements is a choice too...and not a pretty one, at at that.

Thank you for this. I loved all of it. Honesty ain't always comfortable, but it's refreshing.

Hugs and kisses.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great in theory. but hardly anyone does it. check out "real" housewifes, etc. people live to judge.
~ann b.

MindiJo said...

I actually agree with both Leanne and Ann. And they are saying different things. We should not judge, but we are all human.

This is a really great post. I love the way you write- you are refreshingly honest. I love that. It can be uncomfortable, but that is what makes it so great. You don't sugarcoat everything. I love a person who does not beat around the bush.

And thank you for the reminder to us to remember that everybody is a person. Someone's child. A sibling. A friend. Regardless of their circumstances.

Jan said...

Oh gosh, I like this post.
I like the reminder that everyone is someone's daughter.
Maybe I should get a good beehive. Would blonde streaks to cover my greys count?
I like the photos of you and Suvi. You are both so beautiful. I can so relate to the food thing. And mental health thing. Though I still recommend a good therapist. I feel really strongly about that- It has really opened some doors for me lately.

hugs to both you and Suvi!

Brita said...

Love this, Jenny.

Anonymous said...

I am putting on my beehive right now.

-B

PS.....My word veri is "undidup:!!!! I am NOT kidding! Is that a sign?!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

beautiful, you. -jr

Pete/Heidi said...

Love this~

Thank you for sharing your experience with this ~ its so honest. And your reminder that no one lives in isolation or is only a media icon, i.e. we are all someone's child/sibling/etc.

And... that mental illness mortality is measured not just in things like starvation or whathaveyou, but suicide and homicide. The loss of Amy Winehouse is certainly great, not just to her family but to the music industry as well. No one wants to see a 27 year old take her life (well, except some vulture news reporter in need of a good story).

Hugs to you, and may you continue to improve and find reasons to smile. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Jenny! Sometimes we all forget to take that log out of our own eye... because we all have something we should be working on.

If I had any idea how to do a beehive, I would sport one with you! :)

Angie

ethiopifinn said...

ann, you are just mad about the tooty ride you had to da goob.

Deanna said...

Can my short hair fit into a bee-hive...if you do it, it will!!

felt this post throughout my heart and head..love you!
D

ethiopifinn said...

You know what? The little jingle for weebles was "weebles wobble, but they don't fall down." I guess that ain't so bad, is it? I judge, I eat, I despair, I hope, I love.

through the grace of God, we are resiliant.

WITNESS!

Amy said...

Love this post, Jenny. Go you. :)

Tara said...

This might be my favorite "you" post so far. I admire your bravery and willingness to just put yourself out there. You are amazing.

elizabeth said...

In Energy Anatomy, Caroline Myss says to consider that when you judge or criticize someone, you're sending your spirit out with the command to hurt someone else. I suppose she meant it literally, but the metaphor is burned into my brain. It doesn't always stop the judgments, but it always pops into my mind immediately after and I inwardly apologize and take back my judgement. The power of good imagery.

I love this post. Go, you. My heart goes out to her and her family and fans.

(I've always loved her beehive hair, even though I do not think I could pull it off myself.)'

Hey! My word verify thingy is caring! How apropos.

Laura Jean said...

Love. I have more than once thought to myself, "Thank God I'm not famous- I don't think I could handle easy access to drugs". Truly. For as big Amy Winehouse was in fame, she had so much going against her- having access unhealthy 'band-aids' she hardly stood a chance. I am thankful I have a fear of the law- and unintentional death. There have been days, weeks, months in my past where I just want to drown out all the pain. Today, I'm in a good place. Well, not a bad place, anyway. I have a ways to go- like you, my only constant is my medication. Always room for improvement- we can do it!!! :)

Jennifer Skoog Photography said...

You are amazing for putting into words some very difficult and intangible emotions. Go wear that beehive proudly! It looks great! :) While I deal with food addiction daily as my profession, it pains me to hear some ignorant comments; it's also humbling to knwo the inner struggles of people, just like yourself ... and many others, such as myself, who have also struggled in different ways ...and cope with different but not necessarily healthy ways....
Anyways, enough blabbing... you are a great writer and always refreshing to read. I wish you healing and peace.
p.s. Suvi is beautiful!!! and her hair... AMAZING. wow.

MindiJo said...

Laurajean- Wow. Perfectly said about the bandaids.