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The Johnny Depp, Amber Heard trial proves what I’ve always believed – we’re all good and bad

May is Mental Health Awareness month. So, take a moment to consider how well you are and which self you are feeding. I’ll explain more about that in a minute, but let’s start with an example of people who are not mentally well. If you are reading or watching the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, it is clear neither of them is thriving with their mental health.

The evidence in the trial shows the ugly sides of both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

The saddest part of this trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is we will now never forget how awful both of these people have behaved towards each other. Unfortunately, the nickname Amber Turd will be hard to ignore and pictures and other evidence of Johnny Depp in relapse have completely destroyed both of these actors for me. But, what’s so crazy is who wins this post-trial? What do they get after the money is gone? All of this knowledge is way too much information for mainstream actors. I believe we all have our good and bad sides. That’s reality, but what’s our need to know? I know that I don’t want to see the bad and ugly side of movie stars who make lots of money to entertain us. Their stories distract.

Celebrities behaving badly gives mental illness a bad name

I know what it is to behave badly. The person I was when I was young and drug-addled is not the person I am today. Decades of recovery, self-help, therapy, and more have made me a better person, but I did not start that way. I’ve worked hard to overcome the devastating effects of addiction. I’ve lived with an alcoholic in a relationship, and I’ve been the alcoholic in many relationships. It’s a terrible choice to be romantically involved with an alcoholic. Alcoholics, when active, are selfish and destructive at best. At worst, abusive and toxic. I know all too well what it’s like to be in a hangover and dealing with a loved one OR being yelled at by a loved one who’s in hangover themselves. Let me tell ya’, it ain’t cool.

Amber Heard may be many things, but she legit was living with an active alcoholic and addict herself at times. Johnny Depp yelled, he screamed, he scared her. These aren’t speculations, they are the facts for anyone living with a spouse who is active in their addiction. Now, she may be mentally ill herself. She did defecate in their marital bed. What is clear is that their marriage was the worst, and now they are suing each and airing all this dirty laundry. No pun intended.

Mental Health awareness is something we all need this and every month

So, here’s the thing. No one is doing well. Every age group, every population, every culture has its own reasons for grief. Climate catastrophe, pandemic effects, war, economic crisis, other geo-political events, animal abuse, school shootings, the list of things going wrong is endless. But what are we doing about it? We’re all capable of healthy and unhealthy behavior based on the personality side of ourselves that we’re feeding right now.

Guess why I’m in recovery groups, practicing Buddhism, and participating in other kinds of community and world service? Because I know there are two sides of me. I don’t want to ever reconnect with the bad old me, so I feed the new, improved version. What I wish for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, as I hope for so many others who I know are engaged in some kind of craziness with other people right now is this: Take a step back and think about what’s happening from all sides.

Pause, consider and choose to feed the good

We all get a choice of how we want to walk through this world. I’m a constant self improver these days, and nothing I do is ever good enough for me to be satisfied – that’s my cross to bear. I learned it from my mother. Supercharged ambition to prove myself to myself and a scary lineage of social activism to live up to. There’s another side to me too. It doesn’t include any of that. It includes fear, resentment, jealousy, insecurity, and any of the seven sins I haven’t included. I have to use recovery, spirituality, activism, and work to fuel my ambition and need to be of service. If it isn’t clear, I feed the other side with everything bad you can think of–is it becoming clear how this works?

A healthy recovery from addiction or mental health issues means a focused nurturing of the good ourselves and constant resistance to the bad

It’s not easy, and it takes work to stay mentally healthy. This is why it’s so critical to get involved with things and people who will force the good out of the you, push you to be better, and support you in your efforts.

If Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are any example, it is this: mental illness will attract mental illness. If it is not treated or handled with care, it will EXPLODE. When it explodes, people can dive down the rabbit hole or try and find their way back. What do we see Johnny Depp and Amber Heard doing? Doubling down on the crazy. There is no perspective. For the record, Johnny Depp’s daughter is being harassed for not publicly supporting him. Guess what? He was an active alcoholic parent. Sadly, he may not deserve her support. So, this month, step back, stop fighting. Put down your swords of metal or words and think about the big picture. Which personality are you feeding and what do you want to be remembered by?

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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.

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