Just today, I was reading about boxers Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya and their struggles with cocaine addiction. They talked about their depression and how awful they felt now. Oscar De La Hoya even went so far to say he was thinking of ending his own life, saying, “What is the point of it all now?” I remember his dating models and all his boxing successes and I was at first puzzled that he could be so depressed now. Mike Tyson actually, before announcing bankruptcy, made up to $400 Million dollars and spent all of it! That is quite a feat, just as awesome to me as being able to knockout so many of his opponents during his prime. It was not bad investments, it was his coming home every night with jewelry, clothes, cars, drugs, and paying his entourage that made him bankrupt.
Still, it is nice to see him change. He no longer seems to be the same person who once bit off peoples’ ears, raped women, was so easily angered, threatened media reporters. He seems to have calmed down quite a bit, which is nice to see. His enormous ego had to be brought down to Earth, but he had to do quite a bit of suffering before he let his ego go.
The sports heroes, the Hollywood stars, Politicians… they are so attached to their “form”, the fame, so that when the inevitable tides changed with time, their minds could not change with the realities of what was happening. Today I was reading in the Chicago Tribune that U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was in the hospital for “exhaustion, and depression” according to his mother because he endured years of disappointment. He wanted to be the Mayor of Chicago or a U.S. Senator. Already he was famous and had money and power. He just wanted more of it. When the never ending greed could not be satisfied, he mourned his own life.
It seems silly to us, but that is the reality of living. If you cannot ALIGN your mind with life’s often quick abrupt changes, you suffer.
I often wondered before I went through my own transformation why such famous people could ever get depressed, past or future. I felt that they could all remember their past glory and be satisfied, or rest on their current gifts and success. They seemed to have it all: Money, Fame, Power, Good Looks, Talent… Still, I found that no matter who you are, if your mind cannot change with “what IS”, you will suffer. This is because “change happens”, and that is the one thing that never changes.
It is like you are driving your car straight down the road in a hurry to get to your vacation home. Suddenly the weather changes and it starts snowing. Then the road veers off to the right… But can you adjust to the changes? Can you slow down and turn the steering wheel to the right? If you cannot adjust, you will crash the car. That is the equivalent of a movie star continuing to get face lift surgeries, tanning sessions, skin treatments, botox injections to try and fight in vain against the inevitable aging process built into our genes.
That is the reason they suffer, they cannot turn the steering wheel. They cannot adjust the speed. They cannot change. I realized that anyone who is so attached to transient things… famous or not, will feel a sting when they cannot accept change. It reminds me of many famous people that I knew like Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, Kurt Cobain, George Michael, Elton John, Billy Joel and so on who suffered from depression. Even major politicians, world leaders like Winston Churchill spoke of his own “black dogs” of depression… nobody is immune. Everyone must make their minds flexible…