Yesterday at the gym I was reading an old copy of People magazine. The cover story was about tragic death of Cory Monteith, the young, talented and vital star of the hit TV series Glee! Cory died of a lethal combination of drugs and liquor in his hotel room in Vancouver. What was remarkable to me in the story was how split-up Cory’s life was. Friends and co-workers spoke about how easy-going and friendly he was on the set, how nice he was, how happy. But there was a whole other story going on behind the scenes. One that hardly anyone knew about. Drugs, rehab, life falling apart, and finally gone.
What I’ve seen over and over again in my long practice as a psychologist—particularly as one who focuses on performance and stress—is that when there’s so much disconnection between an outer (“great guy!”) and inner (drug addicted) life—the struggle to keep it all together is simply too much. Cory had been to rehab, people thought he was all better. But he wasn’t. He was either still suffering or he thought he could try it again. It’s speculation: we’ll never know.
What I do know is that if you’re finding it hard to deal with life’s tests don’t cover it up or hide it. Don’t try to medicate yourself (with drugs, alcohol or sex). Don’t try to deal with it alone. Reach out to someone—a family member, a friend, a clergy, a counselor. You don’t have to be lonely and suffering. You don’t have to keep up an image. You need to be yourself–all of you. No one’s perfect, everyone faces challenging tests. All the time, It takes too much work to try to keep together a split-up life. Ultimately it took Cory’s life. Get the help you need. Get connected. Now.