Melanie Brown (Mel B), the popular television show judge on America’s Got Talent and former vocalist of the girl-power pop group Spice Girls, will be admitting to rehab in the next few weeks for her alcohol abuse as a way of coping with PTSD. She spoke candidly about seeking treatment last week on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and said, “I am fully aware I have been at a crisis point.” Celebrities in need of mental health care are getting help, out in the open, and continue to show us that it’s okay to struggle so long as we search for a solution.
Plenty of rumors had been circulating about her mental health, potential alcohol addiction, and sex life following the divorce from her abusive ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte, but Mel seized her opportunity to clear the air and share what was really going on. She addressed the tabloid reasonings for her decision to go to rehab on Ellen, “Well, it kind of got a little bit skewed with. Let’s put it that way.” She told host Lea Michele that she’s been in therapy since 2009, but, “my therapy changed a little bit because I was in a very intense relationship, which you can all read about in my book.”
Mel is currently wrapping up the writing of her book Brutally Honest which, as the title implies, will provide us a glimpse into the good, the bad, and the ugly of her life thus far. Her best friend, Gary Madatayan, spoke to Entertainment Tonight in defense of Mel’s choice to get help, stating, “People really don’t know what she went through. Actually, when you read her book, it will be more clear what she’s going through right now.” The book will be released in November of this year.
On The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she stated that she is not an alcoholic or sex addict but hinted that she was using substances and sex to cope with her PTSD. “Sometimes it’s too hard to cope with all the emotions I feel. But the problem has never been about sex or alcohol – it is underneath all that,” she clarified to the audience, “I am still struggling but if I can shine a light on the issue of pain, PTSD, and the things men and women do to mask it, I will do. I am speaking about this because this is a huge issue for so many people.”
Mel is 100% correct – there are over 24 million people living with PTSD in the United States and many do not know how to cope in a healthy manner. When speaking about the last six months of her life, post-divorce, she said, “I am being very honest about drinking to numb my pain but that is just a way a lot of people mask what is really going on.” She had decided to deal with her PTSD with alcohol and that’s clearly not working for her anymore. We are very happy that she has chosen to get the care she needs and find new coping mechanisms to work through the underlying problems before her drinking became an addiction. If you find yourself in a constant battle of numbing your pain with a substance, you could be well on your way to addiction – reach out for help before it gets any worse.