Amy Winehouse, Anxiety and Grief

July 30, 2011 Kate White

What does Amy Winehouse have to do with anxiety? And why are certain kinds of worries, stresses, triumphs easier to feel? Kate White, Treating Anxiety Blog.

As a friend of mine pointed out, there was a weird thing happening in cyberspace this week: People were rationing grief. Portioning it up like that really can be done, like any of us could put a cap on sadness, anger, denial, fear.

Would we like to be able to say, 'I'll take only this much, and no more?' Probably, a lot of the time, yes. It's one of those fantasies many people carry around I think, especially people living with anxiety. Because wouldn't it be nice? Only it doesn't work that way. In our day-to-day, where we live and breathe other people so much of the time, it's way more important to feel, relate, communicate, empathize, understand whenever we possibly can.

What Does Amy Winehouse Have to Do with Anxiety?

A great deal, if you ask me. She died because of it, for one. There's a whole lot more to addiction than anxiety of course but it's always in the mix. You don't need drugs like a drug addict needs drugs unless there's a lot in your life that's impossible to deal with any other way. A situation not unfamiliar to people managing anxiety, however they may choose to relieve that pressure.

Grief is one of those rolling emotions that catch us unawares. Sometimes it morphs into anger so rapidly you don't have time to blink, or you turn a corner and it's just a wall of sad so big your brain pauses that whole rational thinking thing because it just isn't useful at the time.

So I'm not surprised when the folks reading about the massive tragedy in Norway decide that it's shallow to feel empathy or heartache for Amy Winehouse. Her privilege in life makes her death, or rather the way that she died, seem wasteful. The comparison is, however, grossly unfair. I'm sure everybody knows that. But I do think we find it easier to feel certain kinds of grief (or certain types of anxiety) and to express them more freely.

amywinehouseThe media-enforced pseudo-intimacy we have going with celebrities is a big part of this. People feel like they knew Amy Winehouse, they have opinions on her, they feel entitled to those opinions. And those opinions are even more entrenched now that she's dead. Love, fury, despair, panic, these are all tangled up together like our hearts are great big melting pots and whatever rises to the surface first is just plain easiest to deal with.

Think about that, see what it means to you:

  • Why are certain kinds of worries, anxieties, stresses, pains, losses, triumphs easier to feel?
  • Why do they come to the surface so readily, more readily than feelings you'd maybe prefer?

I suggest that:

  • there is almost always something we get out of it on a very personal level (not a bad thing), and;
  • the answers, when explored sufficiently, are revealing, and often helpful in the quest to be anxiety-free.

Photo by Karenblue

APA Reference
White, K. (2011, July 30). Amy Winehouse, Anxiety and Grief, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Author: Kate White

3am Wisdom
July, 30 2011 at 3:49 am

Oh! Thank you for the shout out, Mrs. And, as always, this makes a great deal of sense. xx

July, 30 2011 at 3:13 am

As ever, am awed by your writing ... "just a wall of sad so big your brain pauses that whole rational thinking thing because it just isn’t useful at the time" - I so know this one xxx

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