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Mel B's Honesty Shows Us That Rehab For PTSD Is An Option

Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

When most people think of Mel B, they think of her as one of the iconic members of the ‘90s British group, The Spice Girls. Back then, her eclectic style, expressive delivery, and confident attitude branded her as “Scary Spice” and instantly launched her into fame as the spunkiest member of the group. This week, however, Mel B, born Melanie Brown, was launched into headlines again for a much more somber reason. The 43-year-old international pop star announced that she will be seeking mental treatment at a rehabilitation center in her homeland of the United Kingdom. Initially, when this announcement was released, media outlets began to speculate that this decision was in reaction to sex and alcohol addictions. In order to set the record straight, Mel B appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show earlier this week after “the news got a little bit skewed with.” Looking as luminous and triumphant as ever, she states, "I've been in therapy since my father got diagnosed with cancer nine years ago. My therapy changed a little bit because I was in a very intense relationship...But no, I’m not an alcoholic. No, I’m not a sex addict. I was with the same person for 10 years, and that was quite a turmoil, very intense.”

Mel B Gets Candid About Why She's Seeking Treatment

Mel B’s honesty offers an important view into the life of a public person who is actively trying to heal his or her mental trauma. At the beginning of 2017, Ms. Brown lost her father due to a grueling battle with multiple myeloma cancer. Earlier this year, she and ex-husband Stephen Belafonte filed for divorce, which ushered in a chaotic string of restraining orders, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse allegations, and an ongoing custody battle. When we look at celebrities like Mel B, their accumulation of money, accolades, and notoriety can seem like a balm, under which all of their pain should be placed. We think that money and success should render issues like mental instability, null and void. Because of this, it is natural to think that a celebrity entering into treatment can only be due to drugs, violent behavior, or a relapse. This narrow-minded view of rehabilitation does damage to all of us, famous or not because it shames those who are suffering from mental trauma but still leading successful lives into silence.

Mel B is choosing to prioritize her health; her seeking treatment is not a punishment or a reaction, but a decision made with intent. She is aware of her disorder, PTSD, and is facing it. Most often, post-traumatic stress disorder is associated with events such as war, car accidents, and physical assault, but these events do not hold the monopoly on trauma. Less “obvious” life-altering occurrences such as divorce, financial abuse, or the death of a family member, can also influence our mental health in immeasurable ways. Each one robs us of something we once held near whether that is a relationship, a sense of security, or a loved one. Since these types of tragedies are so common in everyday life, individuals who face them are not always given the same amount of sympathy or attention. Like Mel B, they have to seek it for themselves.

Although Mel B is battling the lingering effects of PTSD, they do not rid her of her responsibilities at work (she is still filming the current season of America’s Got Talent) and at home (she has three children, aged 6 through 19). This is the reality for several working women. Self-care, especially when it requires time away from home or an expensive program, can get pushed to the side in favor of errands, earnings, and other obligations. It’s easy to fall into trappings of guilt about taking time for yourself, but this self-devotion is necessary if you truly desire to be of service to others. In a recent interview with The Sun, Mel B stated, "No-one knows myself better than I do. But I am dealing with it...I am working on being a better version of myself for my kids - whom I love more than life itself - and for all the people who have supported me.” Whether the steps you need to take on the road to wellness are big, small, or somewhere in between, never be ashamed of taking them.