Dear Amy Winehouse

I just watched the documentary, “Amy” tonight and I can’t get over it. It’s haunting, gripping and tragic. Amy Winehouse suffered from a severe eating disorder, drug and alcohol abuse and most likely, bipolar disorder. I noticed in one clip, before she started hard drugs, she went to stay with a friend to write music. She wasn’t drinking while she was there, and mentioned how she spent four days writing songs on the back patio. She mentioned herself at the beginning of the documentary how she suffered from depression early on in her life. The two combined sounds a lot like manic depressive. It’s no mystery why her life began to spiral out of control. With untreated bipolar disorder, anyone could self destruct. She was apparently never treated for mental health issues. I can’t dare to think of where I would be without proper medication, medical treatment and practicing overall wellness. Amy had none of that, and quickly became dependent on drugs instead.

Could Amy Winehouse have been spared from her tragic life? I can’t say, but I do know she was missing one of the most important factors in mental health and overall wellness: a support system. Her mom did not know how to be an assertive parental figure, her father seemed like a piece of work and she dated and married a man who eventually helped her get hooked on drugs. She was being paraded around and drowning in fame while she was extremely unwell. No one seemed to have truly have her best interests at heart, or knew how to protect her.

One major key missing from her story is how long she suffered from an eating disorder. I read an article on Pitchfork about her life and death. Her cause of death was deemed to be alcohol poisoning, and the whole public opinion held fast to her image as simply a drug and alcohol abuser that met her eventual end. It was said how she suffered from bulimia and perhaps anorexia for around 10 years. She was treated for drug addiction, but not really for her long lasting and detrimental disorder.

I just wish Amy could be remembered as more than her downfall. She’s more than her drug abuse and overdoses. She was a twentysomething dedicated to music, dedicated to jazz and was never on a mission to be famous. She said how her dream was to play for small, intimate jazz clubs. What she got was a downward spiral, fed by the insatiable press and promotional tours. Obviously a documentary doesn’t present all the facts or all facts accurately, but I think it’s safe to assume that Amy deserves more. I never realized she was in essence, a jazz singer. I knew her popular singles, and that’s about it. I never knew how special her gift was or how inherently talented she was. The world lost more than a musical treasure, it lost a beautiful soul to the demons of our bodies and our society. I wish that we could all remember Amy as she truly was, and forget about the media’s handcrafted and inaccurate image. She gave us the gift of her music and soul, and the least we can do is remember as who she truly was.


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