Life in the Recovery Room

How to heal, grow, and prosper in challenging times.

America's Voyeurism and America's Escape from Self

America; let's stop laughing and instead begin healing!

Is this Really Only Lohan Land?
Is this Really Only Lohan Land?
America still laughs and points to people with mental health challenges. Its 2011, America. It's not Salem Massachusetts in the 1600's.

Lindsay Lohan, Miguel Cabrera, Charlie Sheen are all seen as public spectacles.  Ironically, these are people we can publicly laugh at and divert attention from ourselves from.

These are "celebrities."  Our friends, family and co workers are ones we privately point and laugh each and every day in our life. The laughs and lack of support around what mental illness is in our country becomes the hell and shame spiral of the person being laughed at. The laughs become the excuse for us to turn away from the responsibility of taking care of our own lives. That is voyeurism as a national pandemic. We are too busy laughing and pointing.

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Rather than be disgusted with Lindsay, Miguel and Charlie maybe we should be saddened that their behavior is ruining lives, theirs and those who watch and are inspired. The chances are at this rate they will end up in jail or in the land of Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith is very likely.

Lindsay is dying from addictions and other mental health challenges before our very eyes and on every tabloid and mainstream paper we can look at. Pointing and laughing at this woman has become pandemic. Her death, without intervention, is certain. In the meantime, we all can have a great belly laugh.

Behind the smile: The Hell of Alcoholism
Behind the smile: The Hell of Alcoholism
Miguel Cabrera, the MVP first basemen for the Detroit Tigers and drinks Scotch in front of the police officer and screams at him with over a .23 blood alcohol level "Do you know who I am." Well of course he knows who he is. This is a repeat act in the same State of Florida and the same altered state of consciousness several years before. Domestic fights preceded both insidious alcohol binges. The day after, every sports show were laughing and pointing instead of taking this man's alcoholism seriously as the story. His private pain has now become the fodder jokes are made from.

And finally there is Charlie Sheen who is being paid over 2 million dollars an episode and is dying before ours and casts members' very eyes. He is making public interviews today about "controlled crack use." All we can do is point and laugh.

And all our impressionable children, with little that tethers them to this earth in meaning and value, watch and listen. They see and read about the behavior. They watch the laughs and snickers from their parents and they rarely hear about the truths of real mental illness and we can recover from it. The public discussion on healing our lives as individuals, families and as a culture remain in the closet.

I am the walking poster child who knows first hand, we can heal our lives and thrive if people reach a hand out support and treat the mental illness the way they treat heart challenges, cancer, diabetes or any other life threatening medical emergency.

These stars are outliers of our own lives. They represent all of us but also allow us to deflect the demons and ghosts we are here on earth to solve. In lieu of laughing and pointing at others, we might be best served filling our spirtual paths with our healing and consciousness while making sure our mental health is doing well before pointing at others.

Moderation Management with Crack?
Moderation Management with Crack?
I remember just last year watching Britany Spears and the world throwing diagnosis around as if they were Doctors. I also remember Dr. Phil did nothing at all to assist our field in dealing with the shame, stigma and Monday morning laughs. His bombastic self absorbed approach only served to make mental health more a side show than a real illness. Not only did a man with a PhD after his name make a bigger circus out of it, he continued to promote the shame, stigma and judgementalism that America has in its fascination with mental health. In doing so he also treated Brittany like an object rather than a person in need of help.We could chalk it up to a clinician dancing too close to the fire, had the same situation not been recreated by Dr. Phil again in the tragic recent story of Ted Williams, America's favorite voiceover media target.

Mental health is a biological, psychological and social illness. It is not the joke or the deflection from ourselves that it is serving. It is biologically predisposed, psychologically induced and social reinforced. It involves the DNA of our lives, the way we were raised and the people we choose in life.

Even Washington DC seems tired of the mental health circus we have created as it finally voted to give the same insurance parity mental health benefits deserved with medical problems. Mental challenges are not designed to be discussed around water coolers. It is a private medical condition that is treatable and often driven by underlying factors that we should see and act on therapeutically. We also should take these opportunities to be reminded there is also unfinished business with ourselves; whether it be the lack of healthy spirit that causes us to crave this media circus or the demons and ghosts we battle ourselves in silence.

There but for the grace of God go I. Lindsay, Miguel and Charlie need time to get well, as we do too. Please no more laughing and pointing. A little understanding will go a long way to help these media darlings and ourselves.

Cast no stones if you live in a glass house. And, America does live in a glass house. Make no mistake about that!

For more information on Dr. Jamie please go to www.drjamie.com. If you want to join a wonderful community of people of supportive people recoverying from addictions and mental health challenges go to www.intherooms.com and www.nami.org.

 

James Huysman, PsyD, LCSW, is a leading authority on caregiver burnout, compassion fatigue and related addictions. Aside from his blog here, he writes a behavioral health column for Florida MD.

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