Ken Donaldson, Lindsay Lohan, addiction and mental health
Lindsay Lohan is in the news again and besides the obvious and disturbing chain of events that she has imposed upon herself, this does make for an interesting case study about mental health, addiction and overall life balance.
Lindsay has had a couple of arrests and has been in and out of treatment for her mental health and substance abuse issues. One may think that someone who has this potential as a movie star would make choices to “clean up” their life.
Not that she has been the first “star” to succumb to drugs and alcohol.
In fact, it happens every day.
We every day people just don’t always hear about it.
But what are the big lessons here? What can we all learn from this (including Lindsay, hopefully!)?
1.) Drug and alcohol misuse, abuse and addiction are still alive and well. In spite of there being less news about these trends, they are still progressing in an expanding direction. For example, the prescription pain-killer epidemic is like the heroin craze from the 60s and 70s.
2.) Denial is king when it comes to addiction. Denial has many different variations. Minimizing, justifying, rationalizing, blaming others and intellectualizing are just a few of the different variations. The bottom-line is that denial is the #1 most common and powerful characteristic of any and all addictive behavior.
3.) Sometimes it’s not just addiction. There have been numerous reports that Lindsay is also suffering from clinical depression or bi-polar disorder. We’ll probably never know as that information is kept confidential. Nor do we need to know.
But here’s something to consider: People often turn to drugs and alcohol as an attempt to self-medicate themselves from ailments like depression, anxiety, panic and unresolved trauma. This is commonly referred to as “double trouble” as the combination of any of these emotional conditions with drugs or alcohol creates a negative synergistic result that can be deadly.
4.) Don’t expect help to come knocking at your door. Usually the only time we really hear about drug and alcohol problems is when a celebrity has a problem and the media picks it up and reports on it. We are, in general, poorly equipped to know what to do with addiction. Additionally, and this is a bit of a kicker, many people are in denial about denial. People just don’t want to know and, therefore, don’t know what to do when the problem shows up in their friends, family or in themselves.
The good news is that recovery is not only possible, it’s actually quite simple.
However, don’t confuse simple with easy.
It’s not “easy” to break the addictive patterns of drugs and alcohol. The addictive energy is very powerful and will “fight” to stay alive. The people of Alcoholics Anonymous refer to this energy as “cunning, powerful and baffling.”
Here are the foundational, and simple, pieces to healthy and successful recovery from addiction, as well as the path to the best mental health:
- The Beatles said it best: I get by with a little help from my friends. Your support system is where you can go to talk about you and your challenges. They will hold you, hug you and love you, AND they will kick you in the butt when you need it. If you don’t have a solid support system, today is a good day to start.
- Balance: Know when your life is in balance and know when it’s out. Know the indicators.
- Boundaries: Create solid boundaries with others and with yourself. Boundaries are the core to a balanced life. Know what to say “Yes” to and know what to say “No” to.
- Bliss: Know your life purpose and be passionate about it. Find and live your bliss in life.
Yes, Lindsay Lohan is in a tough situation. And let’s hope she gets it together. More importantly, YOU have a chance now to review your life, make adjustments and make sure you create an “anti-addiction” life and the best mental health possible.
And, of course, you’ll create maximum life balance too.