Last night, CBS aired the much-anticipated interview between Oprah and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Over 17 million people sat glued to their tv screens hoping the couple would spill the tea on all the royals’ dirty little secrets.
And they didn’t disappoint. They dropped bombshell after bombshell: citing racist concerns over Archie’s skin tone, secretly getting married three days before their wedding, family rifts between Harry and his father and brother…
Meghan’s confession that at one point during her pregnancy with Archie, she seriously contemplated suicide.
“I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.”
— Kelly Dobeck (@KellyDWeather) March 8, 2021
She also talks about the shame she felt and her reluctance to share her thoughts of self-harm, especially with the one she’s closest to:
“Look I was really ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry, especially, because I know how much loss he’s suffered. But I knew that if I didn’t say it, I would do it and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
Later in the interview, she tells Oprah of the day she told Harry she was feeling suicidal. It was in January of 2019 and the two were expected at an official event at the Royal Albert Hall.
“I remember him saying, ‘I don’t think you can go.’ And I said, ‘I can’t be left alone.'”
She also expressed that she eventually sought help from the “institution.” But her request was denied.
“I went to the Institution, and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. I said that “I’ve never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the Institution.”
As for Harry’s initial response? He struggled with knowing what to do.
He admitted that he was ashamed to tell his family what was going on. Oprah asked him, point blank, “Did you tell other people in the family ‘I need to get help for her, we need to get help for her.’?”
Harry replied, “That’s not a conversation that would be had. Um…I guess I was ashamed of admitting it to them. I didn’t have anyone to turn to.”
He is a part of a family that focuses much of their charitable work around mental health. A man who has sought therapy himself. And yet, even he was silenced by the stigma surrounding it.
As the major media sites shared the shocking revelation, commenters came out in droves. And the amount of vitriol is shocking. Here is just a smattering of what people are saying, and it makes me question, where has our capacity for compassion gone?
“She got the fairytale life she always talked about then wasn’t tough enough to handle it. Wah”
“Poor little pampered, spoiled, rich,rich, rich, girl. Boo hoo.”
“Never realized what a good actress she is. Its academy awards time.”
“Entitled, spoiled drama queen playing victim for publicity!”
“She’ll use ‘suicidal’ to get more empathy. People user”
“I didn’t want to be alive” ……..well prepared sentence. I don’t buy a word that woman says”
“She shoulda just done it already.”
“Hoes just want attention.”
Regardless of whose side of the pond you’re on, love royals or hate them, our reaction to someone struggling with their mental health matters.
Meghan is someone’s daughter. She is someone’s sister and friend. She is a wife and a mother. And above all, she is a fellow human being who had the courage to speak out about something that is extremely difficult to share. And she is being crucified for it.
Is she telling the truth? Some call bullshit. But here’s the thing, whether you believe her or not, when we attack and vilify someone for speaking out, what does that say to the people who are struggling in silence?
What message are we sending? Because for so many, these thoughts of suicide are real. And yet, the struggle is too often shrouded in shame, guilt, isolation, and secrecy.
According to the CDC, over 48,000 people die by suicide per year. That is equivalent to 130 suicides PER DAY. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide attempts among pregnant or postpartum mothers have nearly tripled over the past decade.
It is not a joke.
Meghan deserves compassion, not condemnation. When someone shares their story of struggling with suicidal thoughts, you support them. You tell them they are not alone. You pass on the judgment and embrace empathy.
You seek understanding.
You applaud them for opening up and sharing a truth that makes others feel less alone. You celebrate them for their bravery. And you thank them for giving fellow sufferers the courage to seek help.
In order to break down the walls and end the stigma, we HAVE to do better. Someone’s life could very well depend on it.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call the NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. You are not alone.