I was extremely saddened to hear that Amy Winehouse died at the young age of 27 on Saturday, July 23rd after battling addiction to drugs and alcohol, as well as other mental health issues. The cause of her death has still not been determined, but there is much talk about the presumed cause. Whatever may have happened, it seems clear that her fragile body was not able to withstand any more.
Mental illness can happen to anyone. It does not go hand in hand with artistic abilities, rather it can happen despite one’s talents, intellect, abilities, religious beliefs, and/or socioeconomic status.
Amy Winehouse’s deep, soulful voice and musical abilities propelled her rapidly into the fame that many of us could only dream about. It is hard to imagine what it would be like to try to manage an illness while racing along the fast track. The most frustrating part of having a serious mental illness is the time that it requires to devote to the recovery process, and the fact that recovery seldom happens overnight. In addition to proper medical treatment, it requires stepping back from the stressors that may contribute to one’s symptoms, making modifications in one’s lifestyle to maintain mental stability, and gradually being able to return to life’s every day demands. Regaining one’s quality of life is entirely possible when recovery is the number one priority, above all else.
Unfortunately, people often become so entrenched in their daily lives and lifestyles that it is difficult to let go. It is like the child who sticks his hand in the candy jar and fills it so full of candy he can’t pull it back out, not realizing that unless he let’s go and let’s it flow out of the jar into his hand, he’ll never get to actually taste its sweetness.
Amy Winehouse must have felt the continuous pull of staying on top of her commitments to share her talents, versus taking enough time out to truly address her issues. Had she been able to do this, who knows how many more years she would have been able to share her magnificent talents.
God bless her family, and may she rest in peace now.