I really don't get it! When a celebrity dies from a drug overdose (the list is a very long one) or does something totally outrageous (that list is a very long one, as well), the person is glorified by the press or they become instant comedic material. Everyone who knows the person makes heartfelt comments regarding the person and their behavior while the rest of us sit back, act surprised and claim how much we'll miss the person or we scratch our heads and we claim we don't understand why some people act so recklessly when they have so much going for them. They we have a good laugh at their expense. The answer to the puzzle regarding other people's erratic behavior is that too few of us really understand the nature of the beasts named Addiction and Mental Illness and too many of us downplay and ignore their destructive powers until something dreadful happens.
One of my biggest problems regarding drug abuse and mental illness is the lack of positive involvement a person gets from others. I'm not saying we need to take all the responsibility for people with serious problems, but we need to at least share in some of it. We need to be strong, stay strong and do our part to help stop people from pissing their lives away needlessly. We need to step up when these people aren't strong enough to step up for themselves. We can make a difference in someone else's life, but that difference can only be made through perseverance and being armed with the right tools to do so.
My problem is also with the press who doesn't use each celebrities' demise as a vehicle to show others especially the young and impressionable how and when to get help. There is no shame in reaching out and asking for help. The shame is in not doing it. So many of us find a celebrities' antics as being nothing more than a joke (hello Justin Bieber, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Britney Speers, Paris Hilton and many others) when in reality their behavior is a loud cry for help. I know denial is a strong thing, BUT come on, drugs really do kill people and mental illness crushes people's lives. Drugs not only take the lives of the rich and famous (except Keith Richards who will probably live forever), but they claim the lives of everyday, non-celebrity people, also. Mental illness effects an estimated one out of every four people. I know we can't physically force a person stop using drugs unless we lock that person up or be compliant in taking the proper medications to treat a mental illness, but we can do interventions and sometimes those interventions work. I guess my point is that there is help out there and that maybe those people in dire need of help, just need to be reminded they aren't alone and that there is and can be life without drugs or the stigma of having a mental illness.
Sometimes all a person needs is a little compassion. Sometimes all a person needs is a little understanding. Sometimes all a person needs is a little love. Sometimes they need to be confronted over and over again until they do something about their problem before their problem does something about them. What they don't need is to be enabled. They don't need a bunch of mixed signals from their family and friends. They need consistency and stability. They need positive influences and reinforcement. And if they're famous, they don't need the press to glorify their actions or their deaths when what they should be doing is stepping up and being a spokesperson. Others may be less talented or wealthy then what they are, but their lives are just as important. Everyone is worth saving. Addiction and mental illness may not be a conscious choice anyone makes, but not seeking help for either one is. We all need to remember that and do whatever we can to make a difference and not be part of the problem.