Dear Jim Carrey: Let’s Talk About Treating Depression

Dear Mr. Carrey,

Some people are upset, Jim. They think you're anti-Prozac. They've compared you to Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise, Jim!

This is not the most advantageous of connections. Not in the mental health world, anyway.

For what it's worth, I understand what you were saying on Larry King Live. You weren't saying, "Prozac is bad." You were saying, "Prozac can help, but people need to deal with what's making them depressed, too."

You probably want people to...


Would Celebrity Mental Health Advocacy Make A Difference For Young Adults?

I read a Reuters Health article the other day that highlights a survey reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry:
The survey, of more than 5,000 U.S. adults ages 19 to 25, found that mental health disorders were common among both college students and those not in college. But neither group was likely to have had the problem addressed; overall, one-quarter had sought treatment for their mental health disorder in the previous year.
Obviously the findings aren't 100% spot on, because the surveys asked the participants "standard questions used to diagnose substance abuse and other mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder," so, regular trips to the psychiatrist it was not.

However, if we assume the participants all answered honestly, then we can probably safely assume some of them may actually be suffering from an anxiety problem, or depression, or substance abuse.


Torturing Guantanamo Bay Prisoners With…Music?

There was a time in my life when I probably could have listened to Dr. Dre repeatedly. Maybe not nonstop, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week, but, pretty regularly.

We're talking the days of Dre's 2001. Actually, I revisit 2001 from time to time. For nostalgic purposes, I suppose.

Apparently, the music of Dr. Dre - along with that of Eminem, Britney Spears, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, and David Gray, with some Sesame Street and Barney thrown into the mix for good measure - has been used as torture devices at Guantanamo Bay:

Ruhal Ahmed, a Briton who was captured in Afghanistan, describes excruciating sessions at Guantanamo Bay. He said his hands were shackled to his feet, which were shackled to the floor, forcing him into a painful squat for periods of up to two days.

"You're in agony," Ahmed, who was released without charge in 2004, told Reprieve. He said the agony was compounded when music was introduced, because "before you could actually concentrate on something else, try to make yourself focus on some other things in your life that you did before and take that pain away.

"It makes you feel like you are going mad," he said.


Cruise To Lauer: There’s A Time And Place For Humanitarian Issues

"I've never agreed with psychiatry, ever."

"And I know that psychiatry is a pseudo science."

"There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance."

If any of those quotes sound familiar to you, you probably watched (or later read about) Matt Lauer's awkward interview of Tom Cruise on The Today Show back in 2005. That interview was just the cherry on a cake baked with so many ingredients explaining why I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise; specifically related to this subject, the whole "Brooke Shields shouldn't be taking antidepressants for postpartum depression" thing. I don't care if Shields got to have her say, and I don't care if Cruise later apologized to her; I'm still carrying baggage.

Judging from this morning's interview, however, it seems that Lauer and Cruise have made up. Cruise stated that looking back at the earlier interview, he saw that he "came across arrogant," it was not what he "intended," and he could have "handled it better."


What Do You Have To Be Sad About? Joe Pantoliano Opens Up About Depression

"What do you have to be sad about?"

If you've ever suffered from depression, you probably know all too well the anger, frustration, guilt, and hopelessness that attacks you both physically and mentally when someone asks that question. And, to add insult to injury, the person who asks the question is usually someone pretty close to you - your mom, your best friend, your significant other - someone who know you best.

Yet, experience has taught me they ask this question because they know you so well - they know about your awesome career, your fabulous wardrobe, your big fat bank account - you know, all the material, tangible, superficial successes on the outside that often have absolutely nothing to do with how happy or sad you feel on the inside.

"What do you have to be sad about?"


Celebrity Substance Abuse Problems Aren’t Sources Of Entertainment

Over the past few years, the media have been having a field day with the drug and alcohol problems (or, alleged drug and alcohol problems) of stars like Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan, and Tara Reid.

Fortunately, Spears seems to be making a comeback, Lohan defends she's still "on the wagon," and Tara Reid has just checked into the Promises Treatment Center according to her publicist. (Sadly, I don't think Winehouse has such good news to report, but I do know the Shore Break Drug Rehab center supposedly offered its services to both Winehouse and her husband.)

From pictures of freshly-shaven heads to snarky commentary about the most recent party gone bad, when a celebrity displays some questionable behavior, you can expect both the media and the public to be all over it.

Shoot, you can probably expect to know about it before the even the celebrity's family members do.

And, I blame both the media and the public. Most media sources are out to make money, so, naturally they're gonna pony up what the public wants; however, they do have the power to, you know, not report every single drunken escapade. Rather than some garbage shot of a drunken celeb flipping off the camera, I'd much rather look at pictures of Wentworth Miller. Even if he's just buying coffee. I haven't seen any new ones since November 28.

I'm just saying.


Pinup Icon Bettie Page Passes Away

Bettie Page passed away last night after suffering a bout of pneumonia and a heart attack last week.

The popular pinup model was from an era when the media still found curves attractive, the Internet didn't even exist much less house Web site after Web site of the bondage and other fetish-related materials Page was known for, and mental illness was still a widely misunderstood mystery.

Page reportedly suffered from a "nervous breakdown" after her...


Musicians With Mood Disorders "Embrace The Creative Spark"

A few days ago I told you about how you can help support your favorite mental health charities and get your holiday shopping done in one fell swoop (I also learned something new; I had no idea Hugh Laurie and the rest of the cast of House were NAMI supporters).

Today, I want to tell you about another way you can check off a name on the ol' holiday shopping list - purchase 2008...


Carrie Fisher: Substance Abuse, Bipolar Disorder, And Wishful Drinking

Even though I occasionally make reference to The Force, say things like "Luke, I am your father" into fans like Chris Farley does in Tommy Boy (though, I'm told that's actually a misquote), and am absolutely terrified of Chewbacca, I pretty much know absolutely nothing about Star Wars.

Laugh all you want, but I bet anything I could kick your tail at Harry Potter trivia.

Anyway, aside from the fact that she played Princess Leia in...


Bye, Bye Denny Crane

Last night marked the end of a five-season era for me: The final episode of Boston Legal. Final. Like, ever.

Although the Chinese gabazillionaires actually did purchase Crane, Poole & Schmidt (and broke my heart with the name change Chang, Poole & Schmidt), Boston Legal creator David E. Kelley and writers did placate me a bit by allowing Alan Shore and Denny Crane to win over the US Supreme Court and get that experimental...