Hello, Today as the world say's goodbye to Whitney I decided to share a personal story of how she influenced me. It is hard for me to write about this, but I feel the need to because I have learned throughout the years that sharing your story can really help others. This blog is about removing Stigma and Shame from illness that Society places upon us, so this is where I should feel that freedom to share my story as well. In 1986, two years after I moved out of my Parents house I began to have Anxiety Attacks. I remember feeling at that time that oh no, I'm going to become my mother who suffered terribly with Mental Illness since I was born. I was not well informed about Mental Illnesses because no one talked about my mother's condition to me as I grew up. Luckily (or at least I thought at the time) I saw a commercial on TV for a free Anxiety Clinic at Mass General Hospital in Boston Ma , which was close to my home. I began treatment there for my Panic Attacks and it was great at the time, the pills they gave me took my Panic Attacks right away and I was able to fully function once again. The medicine they gave me was Xanax. Young and nieve at the time, only 21 yrs old I had no idea of how addictive that medicine was. So the longer I took it the more and more dependent I got on them and soon I was in trouble. In 1989 I tried to withdraw off them with another medicine while at home with the help of a Doctor from the Mass General Clinic. It did not work, the withdrawals were terrible, I even had a seizure in front of my 5 yr old daughter, which I now know could have killed me. After that I had to go into treatment to withdraw off the medicine. I later learned withdrawing off Xanax is as hard as withdrawing off Heroine. While in treatment I was switched to Prozac and since then I have never taken another narcotic for my Anxiety and I never will. I never want to go through anything like that again. When anyone at the treatment center had completed their stay and was ready to leave they would hold a group session. Part of that group session included the person leaving selecting a song that inspired them as they went back out into the world, having overcome whatever they were in treatment for. I choose the Greatest Love Of All by Whitney. It inspired me to love myself and have a renewed love of life. Especially knowing at that point, thanks to the Doctors there, that I was not doomed to live my mother's life. I was not her, I did not have her disease, that I was going to be ok to raise my daughter. So I really felt a connection to her because of that point and time in my life, she really inspired me with that song. Learning that she died with a bottle of Xanax in her room really hit home for me, because that could have happened to me. At the same time it is a reminder of how grateful I am that I made it through that dependency. Even though we don't really know her true cause of death yet, I hope it was not due to these medicines. If that turns out to be the case, I can only hope that it will truly help raise awareness of the dangers of taking benzodiazepines. I know now that she is resting in the peace that she never had, and I'm so grateful that she was here. Her legacy will include connecting with people, in many different ways, for many different reasons like she did with me. She will be truly missed.
Another one of her songs that represented
a tough time in my life, losing my mother.