Why It’s Good For Celebrities To Share Their Struggles With Mental Health
In a time when Instagram serves as the blueprint of what it means to be “happy” and righteously “dope” with the aid of well-staged selfies and the imaginative backdrop that is supposed to give users the collages of your everlasting “baller” status — it’s incredibly refreshing to once in awhile get a glimpse of the real thing from superstars who are no longer willing to project stylized fakery.
Kid Cudi did it back in late 2016 — when he posted a heartfelt note to his fans on Facebook — that detailed his debilitating struggles with depression. His words were sincere and scarily relatable and I was glad that he was finally taking the time to get the help he not only needed but deserved.
I felt very close to him — not just because I’m a diehard fan — but also due to the fact that I too — grapple with similar symptoms that are just as bad — and despite the threat of suicide that used to assault my existence (finally got the meds) — almost on a daily basis — I never attempted to seek guidance as a lifesaver measure.
Mainly because during the time I was at my worst — I just couldn’t afford it — and even when I did have the 9 to 5 job with benefits — I never geared myself up for the imposing task of sifting through the list of professionals — that were really strangers — who may or may not be able to convince me that my childhood trauma had everything or nothing to do with my present state of mind.
I think I’ve grown too accustomed to being my own healer and I just can’t trust anyone else to do as good of a job as I’ve done.
Yep! I’m pretty fucked up.
And it helps to realize that I’m not the only one who suffers those bad spells that could literally mean the thin line between life and death. When Kid Cudi expressed his paralyzing challenges — I felt a kinship to his ability to juggle his position as a prolific artist with the demands of using his craft as an outlet of pain and joy.
As a writer — I’ve managed to maintain my adherence to this artistry — through the good times and the periods of intense mental dysfunction. Sure — I took the easy way out by dousing the wounds with too much alcohol and puffs of smoke — but I still presented enough evidence to validate my presence of mind.
I kept my lacerating breakdowns on the down low — and confined the episodes to the spaces that could protect me — but in public I was always accessible in ways that never evoked my private turmoil.
My ability to “act through” my woes happens to be the dangerous kind of dysfunction — which is why when people share their dismay after someone abruptly makes their exit — it’s frustrating when their shocking responses is based on how that person “seemed totally fine.”
The symptoms manifest in various ways — because it’s a personalized disease that isn’t easy to manipulate — which is why it’s difficult to cure. An acquaintance of mine — who knows nothing about my struggles — casually questioned why anyone could be depressed if they’re clearly “winning” in life.
I guess if anyone can answer that question it would be the diva herself — Mariah Carey — who recently revealed that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder back in 2001. This is around the time when her infamous mental and physical breakdown was an unrelenting rumor due to her erratic behavior — while appearing on MTV’s TRL — that same year.
Her behavior prompted observers to callously label her as “crazy” — and even a writer at Jezebel took the liberty to curate a carelessly vile article back in 2009 — that was supposed to amusingly transport us back to that time when Mariah Carey Went Crazy. The writer praised the Grammy-winning singer for checking herself into a mental facility — and hoped that “she is feeling a lot better, and is back on top” but added that “she was equally entertaining while hitting rock bottom.”
Basically — rhetoric like this makes it incredibly hard for victims to feel safe enough to share their fragile dispositions because of the fear of being mocked or misunderstood.
Turns out that Carey “who has landed 18 Number One singles on the Billboard Hot 100, the highest amount for any solo artist” has spent almost all her life battling self-esteem issues — which began during her childhood. And then adulthood brought on the complications that exacerbated her temperament — and ultimately led to her breakdown.
Her “severe sleep disorder” turned out to be one of the classic symptoms of bipolar II disorder and after recently tolerating a series of unfortunate events — including the cancellation of her reality show Mariah’s World — and the end of her engagement — Carey submitted to treatment and admits that the medication is helping to set her back on track.
Once the announcement was made — some users on Twitter immediately tweeted their non-surprise as they noted that Carey always seemed “out of it” — so her long overdue admission isn’t necessarily “breaking news.”
Perhaps — the New York native wasn’t as efficient as most when it comes to successfully painting a picture of sanity — but that doesn’t mean that her brave decision to share her diagnosis shouldn’t be lauded — when you consider her immense status in an industry that she dominated with enviable authority.
She’s still a superstar and despite her short-comings as a human being — her name alone evokes imagery that only very few can summon. Her past incoherencies may have been the obvious sign of a mental dysfunction — but that can’t be the basis of picking out the “crazies” from those of sound — mind — and body.
It helps to to have someone like Mariah Carey — tear down the self-imposed barriers and finally open up and confirm her cumbersome journey because it’s another indication of just how vulnerable we are — even at our best.
You can have it all — and still not be able to get out of bed for hours or even an entire day. You can be have legions of fans and an entourage at your beck and call — and still wish you could be someone else — if just for a minute. You can look and act the part — and then collapse in a heap with the silence of your gold-plated bathroom — closing in on you.
It’s good for celebrities to share their struggles with mental health because it shatters the myth of what causes emotional disarray — and gives those of us who are admirers — the comfort of knowing that nobody is immune to feeling like shit all the time.
It’s also another opportunity to keep this ongoing and very necessary conversation active — in order to allow the misinformation that continues to permeate — the honor to be re-arranged into the kind of messaging that can restore dignity to sufferers both in public and private — and potentially save the lives of those who finally feel understood and slightly hopeful.
Feeling “happy” isn’t always Instagram-worthy — for most of us it’s a distorted state of mind that may never be attainable.
And we really need you to accept that.