Heather Locklear and her Depression and Anxiety Diagnosis
Heather Locklear's spokesperson revealed last week that she has checked into a medical facility for diagnosis and treatment of depression and anxiety.
Wow. That really surprised me. Britney Spears? No surprise. Amy Winehouse? Well, duh. But Heather Locklear? Through the last couple of decades she has been one of the more "together" and stable public figures. Granted, her personal situation has been pretty messy recently. Apparently her ex-husband fooled around with a friend of hers, Denise Richards. I don't read the tabloids and celebrity magazines unless I'm in the doctor's office, so I may be somewhat out of date on the specifics.
According to People magazine, her doctor was concerned enough about her mental health in March of this year that he called 911 and reported that she was suicidal. The story was refuted by her rep, although they used very careful wording that didn't actually refute it completely, if you know what I mean. Based on the coverage of her I've seen over the years, she seems to value her privacy, and doesn't exploit her personal life for the sake of publicity.
This disclosure about Heather Locklear, as with the news that Owen Wilson was suffering from depression and had possibly attempted suicide, reminded me again of what many people say when they hear that a celebrity has clinical depression - "What does he/she have to be depressed about?" After all, they have looks (usually), money, fame, success. So many people peg the celebrities with depression as whiners and say something like, "She doesn't even know what problems are."
The problem here is that many people still equate clinical depression with being "down" or "in a funk." Clinical depression is a disease. Its appearance can be triggered by circumstances such as personal or financial problems, or a loss or some kind. Both in Heather Locklear's case and in Owen Wilson's, the catalyst may have been the dissolution of their romantic relationships, especially as both of them seem to be doing well career-wise.
Many people could get through that type of situation without becoming clinically depressed. In both of these situations it seemed to lead to clinical depression, however, and the cure was no longer as simple as getting a pick-me-up facial or a pep talk. Clinical depression necessitates diagnosis and treatment, and that makes it no different from any other disease.
So when we're talking about this disease, looks, fame and money don't come into the equation. None of those factors can do anything to insulate someone against illness. It certainly helps to have money to pay the medical bills, but it won't keep you from getting ill. So if you're tempted to call Heather Locklear self-indulgent or self-pitying, bear in mind that it can take a lot of strength to admit that you need medical help when your life is under a microscope.