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Why Whitney Houston’s Death is Not That Shocking

Posted on Wed, 15 February, 2012

The Grammy producers were scrambling last weekend to add a fitting tribute to the pop icon, which ultimately was punctuated by mini tributes to The Voice as she was often referred to. Much of the attention given so far to her early demise centers around her amazing talent and mysterious cause of death, but not a lot of discussion about how she fell off the showbiz map as it were. There’s a really important element to the star’s history that is being overlooked. Those that have brought it up in conversation often end their soliloquy with empathic declarations such as, “poor Whitney”. I usually respond to this with, what in comparison seems cold and barbaric, “are you really surprised?” Well, are you? Whitney was an entertainer among a long list who fell prey to fame, addiction and possibly a lot of self-doubt. Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse, etc., all experienced similar problems in a very publicly scrutinized fashion. I’m going to float a possibly enflaming perspective: Whitney’s death was the result of her own choices; terrible choices made out of fear, insecurity and addiction. This woman had everything most people think they want; fame, talent, money, family, security, and she threw it all away. She followed her husband Bobby Brown down his rabbit hole of abuse, drugs and insecurity and threw her life away as a result. Not that she deserved it but let’s be real, she chose the consequences when she chose the path. Far too few of us realize that for ourselves. Usually it takes a catastrophe to jolt us to this type if reality, so consider this a bit of free therapy. Whatever action you chose, you are also choosing the consequences. Guess your mom was right when she said think before you speak. It applies to everything we do. Whitney lost herself somewhere along the way and seemingly could not see out of the fog of the addiction and concurrent mental disorder – she had been taking anti-anxiety and antidepressants for years. I feel sorry that people are only mourning the loss of her talent but not seeing the monumental lesson to be learned: she was her own victim and it didn’t have to happen that way. An example of this was the Grammy’s montage of MusiCares, the non-profit arm of the music conglomerate that helps struggling artists. Few people probably saw the piece completely through or more of the conversations I’m part of would include Cherie Curry of The Runaways and her bit about how they helped her get sober and get her life back. I don’t think that was coincidentally placed before Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney. The important lesson here is first try to deal with your shit before it becomes a life changing catastrophe, or if you must cope badly, get help! Get help often and as often as necessary to come back to life. The only person standing in your way is you and you will be surprised at how easy you are to work with. By the way, don’t think I absolve the doctors of any responsibility. Keeping a patient on years of these types of drugs creates a crutch for functioning. We need to wake up and promote a healthier system of the treatment of chronic pain, whether physical or emotional. More on that in another post.

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A blog written by a hip, sometimes irreverent shrink who’s been around the block and calls it like it is

Humor is a great way to make sense of the world around us - and a little psychological perspective never hurt

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