Friday, February 8, 2008

When Will the Surgeon General Warn Us That Celebrity May Be Hazardous to Your Health?

"Look, we all hit speed bumps at some point in our lives." - DELTA BURKE, as paraphrased from a recent quote during a commercial for Liberty Medical.

First there's Britney Spears' publicicized meltdown and subsequent trips to the rubber room. Then singer Amy Winehouse ("Rehab") is having her own tabloid-publicized problems with alcohol abuse. And a pharmaceutical cocktail of sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs was attributed to Heath Ledger's untimely death -- an accumulative effect of his mindset and how he abused drugs, whether they were prescribed or not. But compared to these and other ongoing publicized, tabloid-driven psychodramas, another newsworthy item has hit the celebrity newswire.
As E! Online reports, actress Delta Burke ("Designing Women") has voluntarily checked into a psychiatric clinic to deal with her ongoing mental health issues, including depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (read: OCD). Burke had to deal with various health issues throughout her life, included eating disorders (attributed to her years in the beauty padgent circuit, where she was Miss Florida of 1974 in the Miss America contest) and the weight fluctuations that led her develop type 2 diabetes. It was in response to the tabloid commentary about her weight issues that Linda Bloodworth-Thomason penned a memorable Designing Women episode titled, "They Shoot Fat Women, Don't They?"


There's no doubt that Burke's various health issues were exacerbated by the work demands pertaining to her career. This can have a "1+1=3" effect on your life. In candidng discussing the obsessive-compulsive disorder that nearly devastated her life, Burke comments, "Have you seen those shows where they don't find the body for days and they go in to clean up and there are stacks of newspapers up to the ceiling? That's hoarding. And I hate it."

It is refreshing to see a celebrity confronting her health issues in a proactive manner and with candor. That she does have a supportive husband and a support system to help guide her through this current crisis helps tremendously. But when will everyone come to the realization that the environments that we operate in can be unhealthy in themselves. And given that many mental health problems might have some biological origin, has it not once dawned on anybody that the environments in which we habituate might trigger many of these problems?

Like methane building up beneath a building's foundation and spontaneously exploding, leaving a building in ruins, one's environment might trigger a possible emotional meltdown. Let me say this unto you: pay very close attention to yourselves and to your world around you, the environment might be more toxic than you might think.

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