Perhaps If, Whitney Had the Help of a Therapist…

“The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy,” Whitney told Diane Sawyer in a 2002 interview with her then-husband Bobby Brown. Brown, who had a bad-boy image, would be arrested several times over the years on DUI charges and failure to pay child support. It was the prelude to the epic fall of a superstar with a once squeaky-clean image, religious roots and spiritual influence.

Interestingly, Whitney commented that their personalities were not that far apart. In 1993, she told Rolling Stone “When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place.” She later revealed that it was around this time that she became drug dependent. She suffered anxiety, unable to meet expectations and continue at that level of success. She began to care about herself less and less, evidenced by drug abuse, poor judgment and public meltdowns. Like many superstars, she was surrounded by people who were dependent on her and  who also enabled her.  Whitney could not get a reality check!

Whitney went to rehab twice, and then declared herself drug-free in a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey. She said she was cured but wasn’t. She blamed her rocky marriage to Brown, which included a charge of domestic abuse. Apparently, like most other people, she alone, could not repair her damaged self, reconcile her feelings toward her failed relationship, confront her dependency issues, and accept that her voice had suffered. It appears that in addition to being in an unhealthy relationship,  she lost her sense of self, her personal power and her footing, all of which helped to further destroy her self-esteem.

The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. If it is strong, it can help buffer you from the outside influences and pressure that caused Whitney to fall. When one’s heart and self esteem has been severely bruised and battered it is extremely difficult to repair it alone.  When it comes to broken or wounded hearts, many of us hope it will go away on its own, settle for talking to our friends, or watch Oprah for solutions.

Often when people are experiencing obstacles in life or find themselves struggling for extended periods, they’re reluctant to reach out for professional help. Some feel that  they should be able to solve their problems on their own. Others fear that seeking help is an admission of inadequacy, a weak character or dependency. In fact, therapy can help you learn more about yourself, gain a new perspective, identify your strengths, as well as recognize and change destructive behavior patterns. Working with a licensed psychotherapist is the most effective method of overcoming chronic depression, fears, trauma, anxiety, and breaking unhealthy patterns that don’t serve you. Unlike employees, friends and family members who are dependent  on you or too personally involved in your life to challenge your mode of operation, a therapist is a trained professional who will lend objective support, help you discover new solutions and assist you in exploring solutions in a different way. In other words, therapy can help you to become your best self. Perhaps the support of  a psychotherapist may have been able to help Whitney to have a different ending.