Bobby Brown, Mental Illness, and Educating Yourself by Eliza Player

Written by Eliza Player on Tuesday, 03 April 2012. Posted in Voices in Recovery

Bobby Brown, Mental Illness, and Educating Yourself by Eliza Player

Some sources say that some members of Whitney Houston’s family did not want Bobby Brown to attend her funeral in New Jersey.  Some of these family members blame Bobby for her demise, essentially blaming him for her death.  Houston’s family reached out to invite Bobby, at the last minute.  As an addict in recovery, I realize that we are all accountable for our own actions, and no one is to blame, except Whitney herself.

Bobby Brown faces his own personal struggles, and those struggles may be amplified in the wake of his ex-wife’s death.  Bobby has also battled with substance abuse for a number of years, and I think his mental illness has really played into that.

Bobby was diagnosed with ADD as a child, and as an adult he was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.   By the time he was diagnosed, the ravages of addiction had already set in.  He tells one interviewer, “When I checked into Betty Ford, I was wondering what was wrong with me.  I was trying to figure out why I was going through these different changes.  I mean, I could be happy one moment and the next minute I’m like angry.  Totally.  Full on fire and rage.  And I didn’t know what was wrong.  I went to the doctor and they talked to me and they did all these tests on my brain and my mental stability and they came up with the diagnosis that I’m bipolar. When I was younger I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, so I know that ADD and bipolar are the same thing.”

There is no question that mental illness can often lead to substance abuse, as these people tend to self medicate.  I personally think Bobby Brown’s ignorance, as well as the general public’s ignorance of his disease contributed to his substance abuse.

Bipolar and ADD are most certainly not the same thing.  And any amount of research into either of these conditions would reveal that the two are not the same at all.  Any amount of research into these diseases would also reveal the potential for these people to self-medicate, thus ending up with a substance abuse problem.

And I am not going to say Bobby is completely at fault for this ignorance.  So many people do not realize the correlation between mental illness and addiction.  Also, many people do not even bother to carefully research a condition they have been diagnosed with, as they do not carefully research medication prescribed by their doctor.

Personally, I do all the research I can on what my doctor tells me.  (But I did that even as an addict, carefully researching all the drugs I did.) Doctors are not there to hold our hand along the way, especially when dealing with a life long illness such as bipolar or even Hepatitis C.  We have to learn as much as we can about our illnesses, so that we can manage them.  It is our responsibility to educate ourselves.

I think that we see this same problem with pain patients getting addicted to pain pills.  So many people do not do any research into their own medications and diagnosis, and they are caught by surprise when they become completely dependent on a strong drug like Oxycontin.  Any amount of research into the medication they are taking would reveal to them that this drug has a large potential for dependence.

I also realize that doctor’s should take on the responsibility to tell us about our diagnosis, treatment, medication, and its potential side effects.  But, let’s face it…they do not always do that.  So, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves.  The more information we have about our health, the more empowered we will become to stay healthy.

About the Author

Eliza Player

Eliza Player

I have been writing as long as I can remember, even carrying tattered notebooks with me through the streets and strip clubs of New Orleans, in the midst of my heroin addiction. I lived a life saturated in heroin until Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, leaving me to fend for myself, eventually facing my demons and coming face to face with my addiction. I have been clean for five years, and since then I have become a mother, graduated college, and started a writing career. I have a B.A. in Mass Media Communication, with a minor in Journalism. I have also written one published book, Through Both Hell and High Water: A Memoir of Addiction and Hurricane Katrina, which tells the story of those dark days I spent in New Orleans after the storm, battling with addiction amidst a natural disaster. I am the blogger and news curator for RecoveryNowTV, and I love sharing the stories of the world, as well as my own personal journey, with my readers. I hope that my words can touch others out there, struggling with addiction.

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