Death, Depression, Society: Whitney Houston & Leslie Carter

  In the past day, I’ve heard and read about two celebrities’ deaths due to drug overdoes/depression/et. al.: Whitney Houston and Leslie Carter (sister of Nick and Aaron Carter). So far, no cause of death has been released regarding Houston, but spectators on social media have already assumed it was due to drug overdose. Carter was addicted to her prescription drugs to treat her anxiety and depression.

And again, society perpetuates the assumption: depressed/mentally ill = drug overdose/crazy/etc.

Houston deserved it. She was a druggie. Why are you sad/surprised she died?

It stings to read these words from those who will never understand the pain of a loved one falling into the trap of drugs to cure emotional pain.

Would you say this same thing to your sister who is battling a drug problem? Your own child? Your best friend?

Over time, especially since my own diagnosis two years ago, I have noticed how society continues to make depression/mental illness such a stigma. It is “wrong” to seek help for my depression. Because I am depressed, I am crazy. Because I had a public meltdown in San Francisco, I am deemed crazy. I had to go to an inpatient facility for a week after that. While there, though, I realized so many of the other patients were battling the same disease: depression. And yet, we were all perfectly normal, human, as well. We just needed a little more help and support.

Once, I had a colleague say to our other colleague, “Good thing you didn’t stay with your ex-boyfriend [because he is suicidal]. You don’t want to end up with a crazy person!” I sat there, feeling the sting of the statement and wanting to lash out in defense.

Do you believe that those who admit publicly that they are depressed that they are crazy? Do you feel they should keep it to themselves?

I have no shame in explaining my situation to those who care to listen. I know I am a stronger person for the help I have sought and the medication I take. I am healing, but I also still have moments of unrest.

It is a shame how our world works, to where stars like Houston, Carter, and even Amy Winehouse are ridiculed during their lives and after they pass away. Yes, drug use is terrible. But, can we not pull away that layer and realize that underneath, there are sad souls wanting help from others?

It is time for us to re-examine ourselves and our thoughts. Not everyone out there using drugs/abusing alcohol/etc. is “crazy”. Ask them what their story is. You may be surprised that their story is just like yours, only a little darker.