I read this article (click here) on People.com last night, and reading quotes a new book called Dolly on Dolly, Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton that has compiled lots of Dolly Parton interviews together. According to this book there was a time when she thought about killing herself with her pistol, because she was so unhappy made me feel undeniably better and less shameful about the fact that I’ve had two overnight stays in the hospital when I’ve been suicidal. Dolly apparently said that her dog saved her by running in and jolting her out of her depression and that he is her “spiritual messenger”.
I keep feeling bad because I didn’t actually kill myself and just talked about how I was thinking about killing myself.
That is the sick part about stigma in our society. It should be a positive thing that I received support and didn’t kill myself, but I still think there is a lot of judgment around people admitting they’re in a lot of pain and are thinking about hurting themselves.
I am thankful at my lowest points I was able to afford high quality medical support and I think my mental health problems improved.
Dolly Parton goes out on a limb by being so honest and frank about her own struggles with suicide, because we’re not supposed to admit openly that sometimes life sucks so much it can appear as if death would be a better solution. I hope it’s not. I hope that any individual who is having suicidal thoughts share them with someone who can help you, either at a hospital or with a friend/trusted person.
Dolly Parton proves that you can be incredibly successful and viewed as having it all in life and still be suicidal. Depression and suicide do not discriminate, but I still think that shame is the dominating force that shapes how we treat depression and suicide and that makes it less safe for people who are struggling with these issues.
Anyways, I don’t listen to Dolly Parton’s music on my iTunes but I love her persona and acting (Steel Magnolias, 9 to 5) and this candid revelation about being suicidal made me love her more. Dolly rules! Maybe I’ll make it to Dollywood one day.
On a side note, I saw this article up on People.com last night and it was already far down the page and not a big story even though I think it should have been. Today I went back to People.com to find it and I couldn’t find it was pushed so far down in the news chain of events. I had to type in Dolly Parton suicide People.com on Google to find the article. I may be wrong but I think how quickly this article disappeared from People.com is another example of stigma towards getting help and being open about mental health struggles.