May 18, 2007: Ashley Judd in Celebri-spiral Recovery
"I had to hit a bottom. It's like when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing." So says Ashley Judd, discussing the 47-day stay she spent in a Texas treatment facility last year to recover from a longtime bout of depression. The actress looks back on that healing time in the issue of Entertainment Weekly that hits stands Friday — in which she also says that one way she copes with the negatives of fame is to steer clear of the tabloids. "I have a really firm slogan now that it's none of my business what people think of me."I am glad to hear her talk about this issue. She's a great actress who's doing much good in the world with her feminist activism and AIDS awareness outreach. But while hers is one side of celebrity depression, there's another, equally problematic celebri-spiraling side.
There's the depression that celebrities themselves must feel, faced with a purported need to stay in the press in order to be validated. Their agents and managers foster this I am sure; but for the person, what does that do to your soul? You take a person who's probably insecure to start with, overlay the need to now amp up the level of attention they need on a daily basis, and then tie it both to their self esteem and career.
Then there's the depression that celebri-spiralers face. Immersion in celebrity tabloid culture fosters impossible cycles of comparing-despairing (I'm not good enough), celebrity envy (I want Gwen Stefani's $4,000 baby carriage, Oprah's five houses, and John Travolta's fleet of airplanes), unrealistic expectations (If only I was famous, I'd have no problems like the happy people on the award show red carpet), and a confusing relationship with healthy escape (how much immersion into the lives of people I don't know is too much?).
Is there any question that there's a direct relationship between booming celebrity culture and the rise of Prozac?