Britney Spears

In January, 2011, after a three-year absence from public view, Britney Spears emerged to announced she would soon release a new CD

January 28, 2008

Britney Spears is not a joke any more.  She’s dying right in front of our eyes, we’re killing her, and we’re enjoying every minute of the show.

Her latest meltdown was early Thursday morning and reported by The Los Angeles Times.

The Times said Spears was taken to UCLA Medical Center. Center spokesman Mark Wheeler declined to comment Thursday, citing privacy laws.

“She went willingly. It was like something in her heart was telling her she should go. She knew something was wrong,” said confidant Sam Luft. Spears’ police escort Thursday included motorcycles, two cruisers, and two helicopters.

Spears, 26, the same age as Lindsay Lohan, who shows a similar behavior  pattern, and is also dying from our insatiable voyeurism.  The pappazzi would not be swarming them constantly if there were no market for their pictures.  Media would not buy the pictures if we didn’t pay to leer at them.

They are addicted to pills and booze.  I’m going to speculate that they have another deadly disease, bipolar disorder, as well.

Britney and Lindsay got much too famous far too young.   Nobody could advise them because their fame gave them too much power, and they were too young to set their own limits.  If it felt good, they did it; they were wealthy, and could do anything they wanted.

Now the fame machine that gave them all that wealth and power has trapped them into the freak show we enjoy nightly on the news.

The deadly disease they might have is depression or bipolar depression.  This is not the kind of depression everybody has sometimes when they suffer a loss or are under pressure.  This kind of depression can cause you to think constantly about death and suicide, isolate for days at a time, shave your head, go to the hospital in the small hours of the morning, and ultimately kill yourself.

With bipolar disorder, those periods of depression are interrupted by periods of wild, careless behavior where you feel invincible, and invulnerable, able to leap tall buildings or walk in traffic.  This is not happiness because there is no joy in it.  In fact, there’s a feeling of desperation because part of you knows this mood is inevitably followed by a crash.  You have to clean up the mess you made – maxing out your credit card, or overdrawing at the bank, getting into a fight , being unfaithful to your partner,  driving with a child in your lap.

I think this might be the reason Lindsay and Britney keep going into rehab and screwing up again the minute they come out.  Rehab is only treating half the problem.  The depression has to be treated at the same time, and that treatment takes longer.

About half the people with depression and bipolar depression are also addicted to alcohol and pills.  They’re trying to numb their psychological pain and stabilize their mood swings.

Often, people go for treatment of their addiction, and the agency tells them they don’t do mental; health; you have to get stable before we can help you.

Or they’d go to a mental health center, and find out they can’t get help until they’re sober for 14 weeks.  How many other diseases can you name where a patient has to make himself well before he can qualify for treatment?  This is only now beginning to change.

One in five people with major depression, and. 15 percent of people with bipolar disorder commit suicide. That does not include the ones we don’t know about because they never went for help, or the ones who commit suicide in avoidable accidents, or one day at a time abusing alcohol and pills.  This carnage is doubly tragic because these illnesses respond to treatment about 85 percent of the time.

From The National Assocation On Mental Illness’ Newsletter

January 31, 2008

Roy Peter Clark, vice-president of the Poynter Institute, a leading center of journalism training and ethics, recently wrote. “There is clearly a danger zone, when life and health are at stake, when the best thing the press can do is back off. That time for Spears is probably now.”

At the same time, the case is an opportunity for public discussion about mental illness, which many ordinary Americans confront every year. NAMI believes it is important that such discussions in our homes, offices, schools, and stores, as well as in the media, be based on facts.

What is needed—for anyone—is understanding and support. We encourage everyone to focus not on Britney Spears, but on all the ordinary people in our own communities who deserve our attention.

Getting well can be a difficult process. It takes time. It may involve relapses. Any group can arrange a presentation by adult who have gotten well through their NAMI affiliate.  They tell you inspiring stories of how they did it, and how they stay well.

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