Why The Bravery of Michelle Williams Is The Antidote Sufferers Need
Michelle Williams is back in the spotlight, a few months after her big engagement announcement. This time the news is sobering, as the Destiny’s Child singer (the one everyone loves to hate) released a statement — confirming that she’s checked into a mental health facility.
Back in 2017, Williams opened up about her struggles with depression, and how she grappled with the darkness without a compass — trying to identify exactly what she was dealing with — as well as enduring the heartbreaking ignorance she was served — when she was honest about her plight.
“So for years, I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression. And when I disclosed it to our manager at the time, bless his heart, he was like, ‘Y’all just signed a multi-million dollar deal! You’re about to go on tour! What do you have to be depressed about?’ So I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I’m just tired.’ I went to him but it’s kind of like, he could have been right at the time. I think he wanted me to be grateful, and I was, but I was still sad. So I want to normalize this mental health discussion.”
And thankfully, Williams is keeping the promise of being a proponent of transparency in the realm of mental fragility, and how it attacks when you least expect it.
Her Instagram post details how she readily sought help, and reiterates the responsibility of using her fame for the betterment of those who may be suffering in silence, and need the encouragement of a familiar face, to encourage a lifesaving decision.
Earlier this year, the diva herself, singer and actress, Mariah Carey, finally admitted that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder back in 2001. As most would recall, that period of her life in the spotlight, was marked by a cloud of controversy, that was heavily strewn from her often times incoherent antics.
Carey was branded “crazy” by the media and the public-at-large, because of the vulnerability of her mental deficiency, and how it manifested in ways that were glaringly alarming. We saw it with Britney Spears at the height of her fame, when she demonstratively shaved her head and was forced to relinquish her affairs to the adults in her midst.
But, as the age of Instagram and Snapchat continue to dominate the culture with glistening images of falsehood, that pass through feeds of dreams, that are waiting to be initiated with inspiration from “self-made billionaires” — under the age of twenty-one — it has become quite necessary to have the accompaniment of celebrities who are willing to break up the static with testimonies of their very personal and refreshingly relatable challenges.
The sudden passing of notables like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, reactivated the ultra-sensitive topic of suicide, and the complexities that arrest the imagination, when we try to envision why people who seemingly have it all, take drastic measures for that final exit.
Media outlets immediately go into overdrive in the quest to rehash past findings that prove how and why suicide is now on the rise. Public forums are populated with comments that reveal the naivety of observers, who assume that an impending divorce or former history with drug abuse might’ve taken its toll.
And now with Michelle Williams, there’s a chorus of regret from online users, who are posting empathies to atone for all the years of verbal abuse that were directed at the “black sheep” of the group. It’s no secret that there has been a decades-long campaign to derail the value of Williams’ contribution to Destiny’s Child, which began the moment the thirty-seven-year-old’s addition was official.
Her assigned reputation as “the weakest link” has never wavered, and even as recently as the epic “Beychella,” Williams couldn’t escape being mercilessly shamed for once again being unable to step up to the level of her sisters.
There’s no doubt that the accumulated years of insults does eventually wear you down, and of course, once you become the subject of a recent drive-by — that cruelly re-focuses that embarrassment:
There’s the likelihood that your weakened disposition may buckle under the pressure of trying to “keep it together” in public spaces. For her part, Williams has been quite vocal about her admiration for Beyonce, and even supplied behind-the-scenes gems on what was going on during the annual California music festival.
Whether or not the formal apology from the community of lifelong tormentors will do the trick is up for debate — but we can’t regulate the depths of despair that cunningly grabs hold and never lets go until we actively fight for survival — to a history of celebrated pettiness.
What we must do, is acknowledge how this moment of bravery that Michelle Williams is feting us with — ultimately provides some relief for sufferers who desperately need an antidote fo their own predicament.
As someone who has battled to finesse the erratic vibes of my mental state without professional input, there’s no way to fully express the comfort that comes with knowing that despite the alienation that constantly hovers— there’s also a tangible bond that binds you to the bravehearts — who selflessly step up to the stage of awareness.
Feeling sad can definitely be drawn from tragic life experiences like profound loss or the consequences of aging that causes physical reactions that mercilessly tamper with your mood. And in my case, the devastation of hormonal disorders that wreck havoc on the psyche — incited the urgency to take bolder steps in securing my survivability.
But, there’s also the upset of being perpetually stuck in a cyclone of disruptiveness that stems from the epicenter of mystery.
This is the highlighted section of torment that most can’t contend with, and instead of respectfully accepting that it’s more than okay to be mystified, there’s the defense mechanism of recklessly trying to create theories for diagnosis.
It’s still playing out with the threatened legacy of Bourdain, who has become tabloid fodder, as sleazy outlets ravenously feast on unsubstantiated scraps — for the benefit of proving how the late chef and TV personality was basically six feet under — even when he was bringing the world to our doorsteps.
Thankfully we have heavyweights like Williams, and all the others with similar status, who are utilizing their currency as a way to provide a window to an issue that can’t be solved with million dollar branding deals or the backdrop of a coastal paradise.
You can’t escape the demons by climbing up the highest high, and it doesn’t always take the lowest low to reduce you to a bundle of nerves that are acute enough to keep you out of commission — indefinitely.
Happiness has never been contingent on the guarantee that nothing will ever happen to disorganize a perfect situation because those fantasies aren’t valid enough to keep even Hollywood in business.
Our state of mind deserves to be lauded for its unpredictability, instead of us devaluing that specific feature.
And while the worldwide web keeps us occupied enough to escape the rabidness of disarray, that can’t be consoled with countless “likes” — no matter how we rally for that outlook — it’s never a small feat when a big name logs in the reminder of realness.
And for sufferers stuck in the blinding fog — it could be the call they’ve been waiting to make all their lives — and finally, now, someone is answering.