my love affair with twitter ended over the weekend. you might laugh, but seriously, since i joined twitter a few years ago I have had positive experiences. thats not to say i was naive enough not to think that people spouted whatever they wanted to on their feeds. however, this weekend when the news was bought that amy winehouse had passed away, it also bought a host of tweets and retweets that i found so sad to read. sad to see and be so aware of the lack of sympathy/knowledge/empathy that the life of a relatively young person, in fact, in the same age range as i am, is dead.
I am aware that some people may say, and have already been saying ‘but there are more important things happening in the world …’ well, its true that there are OTHER things happening in the world, but when did we as humans become limited to only caring about and being sad for one thing at a time? surely we have enough heart in us to be able to express emotion on alsorts at one time? people are suggesting that tweeting/news outriding the Norway attacks meant that people dont care about the horrific tragic events in that country also over the weekend. I beg to differ. I’d like to suggest that the norway incidences had been in the news long before the breaking new of any winehouse’s death was. however, since when did it become a competition? just because someone has tweeted a ‘sadness’ about the death of such a talented yet troubled person does not mean they dont care about africa/somalia, norway, hackgate or anything else thats been thrown out there.
there has been some vitriol out there the last few days. which has been so sad to read. and its tempted to me to blog my self on this topic. and as always, as i start to write i give you a disclaimer. i tell you i am not a professional, i have no qualifications and do not profess to have some ‘important’ view that people should listen to. I dont.
what i do offer, and what most of my writing does come from, is the experience of life. and of that i seem to have plenty. so i am told anyway. the experience of having a family member affected by the demon that is drug and alcohol abuse. i write from the experience of growing up around it, being surrounded by it, and having some of the days of my life that were supposed to be happy ones, unhappy. i write of the experience of the ‘phone call’ that russell brand was so eloquently writing about in his blog article today. the phone call you spend your life expecting, hoping that it is from the person themselves begging for help, wanting help to turn their life around, but mostly it being phone calls of devastation when you are told that person is n o longer alive. For me, so far the phone calls we have had are ones that have turned our ives upside down, the ones from the person who wants money, has no food, gets abusive, or calls to say he has been arrested/in hospital or the various other ones that have happened. It hasnt yet been the one to say they have died … but you spend your life expecting it.
so, i am sure when mitch winehouse and his family received ‘that phonecall’ although it was a shock because who would have expected it that particular time and day … maybe it was not so unexpected. it definitely wasnt in the public despite some peoples reactions. because drug and alcohol addiction is a killer. assuming thats what she has died of. because of course, as of yet, no one is quite sure, are they as no cause has been released? it would be fair to suspect it is very highly that drugs played a part however.
despite the horrible tweets i have read, i have also been humbled by others, for example @lesanto who is a local ish person to me, who i have yet to meet sadly, but who has also lived the life of waiting for ‘that phonecall’ and sadly who did receive it, the final one, to tell him the sad news of the death of his young son. do check out his twitter account @lesanto as he does have something to say on it all, and he knows.
as usual, i started out with an idea of what i wanted to write on this blog, and it seems to have changed as i ramble on. but i guess what i really wanted to suggest/ask/plead for is some compassion. some empathy. and for people who have no idea about it to stop being so callous and to maybe speak to people who have first hand experience.
amy winehouse did not deserve to die. personally i believe she was unwell. as unwell as someone with a mental health illness, or someone who has broken their leg and who needed crutches. who knows why she was so unwell. some one on facebook suggested it was because of her ‘poor background and upbringing’. that tends to often be a response doesnt it … the ‘oh she didnt have a chance’ but as far as i have read, she didnt have that poor an upbringing. she got through stage school didnt she? now i am not professing to know much about her background, but i think its a pretty poor show when it is assumed that someone is an addict ‘just because of their upbringing’. i am sure many people would back me up on disputing that.
as i have written before, about mental health illness being so indiscrimate, i truly believe addiction can affect anyone also, and anytime for any reason. the rich, the poor, the common, the posh, the black, the white, the famous, the every day guy, the employed, the unemployed, married, single, loved, unloved. it can hit anyone.
and it is not just the person who it ruins the life of. its the mothers, the fathers, the sisters, the brothers, the friends.
the people who are there for every minute of the trauma, the people who are there to take the abuse often, or to desperately try and get them into rehabs, help, support, the people who pick up the pieces every time, the people who dearly love them, but who wake up every day wondering if this will be the day when it all ends.
some tweets suggest that, for example, no one cared about amy winehouse. i dont think that could be further from the truth. as her song would suggest, they did try to make her go to rehab. and she did actually. but it just wasnt meant to be.
a few years ago my mother told me about the time she sent my older brother off to a different country for a ‘backpacking’ time. some would suggest that was a bad decision, but she was at the end of her tether. not getting any help or support from anywhere, no funds for rehab, no funds for anything really, despite pleading, and someone in a different country who could look out for him. it was a gamble, he would either go out there and make the most of it, or he wouldnt. my mother waved him off at the air port, and expected to never see him again. we are lucky, we did see him again. and do see him again. but there often isnt a day that goes by where we/i wonder if we will get ‘that phone call’.
there is so much more i could write about the effects of drusg and alcohol on a person, and on a family, but it would turn into an essay which isnt what i want.
one of the twitter responses of late has been ‘they should just kick the habit’ … which is said by people who truly have no understanding of ‘the habit’ or just quite how it affects life/lives.
i think what i want is to ask people to have some more compassion for those who have such broken and hurting lives for whatever reason. please. and to not publish comments that are hurtful when you know nothing abotut what you talk about.
RIP Amy Winehouse, Nimai Le Santo and all the other victims of substance abuse, and thoughts and prayers with those and families suffering from it today x