You often hear people say that Americans live in a celebrity-obsessed culture. We tend to view being famous— or even just generally well-known— as the height of achievement. We sometimes also assume that once you’ve reached the height of fame you leave all “regular people” problems behind. “If you’re a celebrity, you have a lot of money, and if you have a lot of money, you can make any problem go away,” is often the belief.
Then, when celebrities hit a rough patch in life and fall, proving themselves to be all too human, we can be less than empathetic: “They have everything! Why would they risk throwing it all away like this? What do they have to be depressed about?” the water cooler chatter often goes.
Michael Phelps’ recent feature story on ESPN’s SportsCenter, is a touching and important reminder that no one is completely immune from the effects of childhood trauma. No amount of talent, money, or recognition can take away the pain that’s rooted in your past. As a matter of fact, oftentimes the spoils of success can further complicate those issues. “I have all of this, so why am I so deeply unhappy? Why do I still feel worthless? Why do I only want to drink more (or party more, hide away more, or work more) even though I know it isn’t healthy?”
The bad news is that no matter who you are, you can get caught up in the downward spiral of depression and addiction. But, the good news is that no matter who you are, you have the power to overcome your depression and/or addiction. Sometimes, all it takes is the courage to stand up, like Michael Phelps did, and admit that you are struggling and that you are scared. There’s nothing shameful about asking for help.
If you think that you or someone you love needs help right now, give us a call at 800-244-4949.