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!!!!!