In light of some recent things going on in Hollywood, I thought I’d write about my thoughts. Now I’m not a doctor or in a related medical field so take these thoughts as someone’s point of view. Nothing more or nothing less.
We all know Brittany Murphy died last month due to a heart attack or complication; however, there have been a bunch of rumors going around as to what really happened. Was it drugs? Was it an eating disorder? Was it a combination? Her mother says it was a congenital heart failure and that she never did drugs, but had a heart condition since she was a teen while her husband says it was Hollywood that ultimately broke her heart.
My thoughts? We won’t truly know what happened until the autopsy reports come back and hopefully that will put the rumors to rest. She was very thin which can be a symptom of doing drugs, and in turn not eating, or an eating disorder, but as we know, being thin isn’t the only requisite for an eating disorder so jumping to that conclusion solely based on her appearance isn’t always smart. The only thing that didn’t strike me right was this quote from her mom, Do you not think anybody would have picked up on this anorexic, mentally deranged person?
Really? DId she say that? Number one, yes, some anorexics can go for years of bad behavior until someone picks up on it or actually says something about it. Heck, they don’t even think they’re doing anything wrong. Number two, “mentally deranged?” Please. I’m glad she cleared that up for me and let me know that when I was sick, I was also mentally deranged.
Which brings me to something that Kathleen during the Q&A session after her speech Friday night. Someone asked that they can say or do to help a friend who’s struggling. It can be a hard situation for both the sufferer and their friends and family. Everyone can be walking on eggshells and the tension can be suffocating which just worsens the situation. Her advice? Watch your words.
Murphy’s mom was complaining that Hollywood and the media was saying wrong and hurtful things about her daughter while she was alive- the drugs she took, how much alcohol she was drinking, and how much she weighed. She states none of it is true. Ok, but then she turns around and says that? That’s only perpetuating the cycle.
Kathleen also added on a more general level that when you see someone who’s gained weight or lost weight, the usual response is You look great! Have you gained/lost weight? This is horrible to say to someone struggling because they can skew it into something negative about themselves. Likewise, you must be careful because you never know what you’re going to trigger in someone’s head about their feelings.
This should be the first step for everyone who’s struggling and those around them. Take weight out of the equation. Don’t talk about HOW they look, but what they FEEL What’s going on in their life at that time? Mental health issues are all about FEELINGS and dealing with them, not their appearance. If you do want to compliment them, you can say they look great, but instead of asking about their appearance afterward, ask How do you feel?
And be careful about the “f-word” – FINE. Fine isn’t a very descriptive feeling or term so ask them What does fine mean to you? What does it mean?
Did Brittany Murphy die from a mental illness either from drugs or an eating disorder? I don’t know. Was it a pre-existing condition? Maybe. We will find out soon, but the rumors aren’t helping her legacy or her family’s feelings. We’re always too quick to judge others based on their appearance and what they look like instead of who they are so the next time you feel the urge to, bite your tongue and watch your words. Make the first step to change the way our society thinks of people… as objects, not beauty.