“The Talk” recently marked its 10th anniversary on CBS, a decade underscored by outspoken co-host Sharon Osbourne’s willingness to chat about anything, including her decades-long battle with depression.
Osbourne had mentioned her past suicide attempts briefly but, earlier this month — on an episode of “The Talk” about mental-health awareness and wellness — she revealed her 2015 attempt, which was kept quiet at the time while she took a five-week hiatus from the show to recover. Upon her return, she told viewers that she “collapsed from mental and physical fatigue” and that “it was a bump in the road.” Later, she opened up further and said she “was severely depressed and had a breakdown at the time.”
In an interview with The Post, Osbourne, 68, elaborated on her struggles, which she keeps in check with a regimen of medication and therapy. “People look at me like, ‘Oh, she’s so strong. She’s such a loudmouth, she’s this, she’s that,’ ” she said. “But that’s just one side of me. When you’re the matriarch of a family and run a business and work at your own career, things just pile up.
“I was at the point several times where I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
Osbourne — who has been married to rock icon Ozzy Osbourne, 71, for 38 years — wants to help remove the stigma associated with mental-health issues and spoke to The Post about her journey to the depths of despair, climbing out of her dark emotional abyss and, most importantly, how people struggling with this illness are not alone.
How did you attempt suicide in 2015?
I took a whole bunch of pills. I did. I have to admit, the first two [attempts, also with pills] were a cry for help. But not the last one. People think because you work on TV or film or whatever it is, and you’re a known personality, “Well, they don’t have problems.” We have the same problems as everyone else. There are only a handful of problems, and they go around and around and around. It’s something people don’t understand, the voices in your head … the repetitive thoughts in your mind. You try to sleep at night, but you can’t, because there’s that voice over and over again — and you’ll do anything to make it stop. But it won’t.
Were you sorry that your last attempt failed?
Yes. I didn’t want to be here. But I learned so much about coping mechanisms while I was in treatment. I talk to my therapist as often as I can, and I’m in a really good place now. It’s important to talk about it. However bad the situation is at the time, however dark your life might be, things change, situations change. You just have to get that moment of clarity … to pick up the phone and reach out for help.
Is there a history of mental illness in your family?
I don’t know, but I think my mother was very depressed, only because she would take to her room for days at a time and not talk, and I never knew why and didn’t understand what it was. Only as I got older and my depression got worse did I realize that it wasn’t something that just started. I’ve had it all my life but I didn’t know until I was in my 40s what it was.
What’s the most important message you want to convey regarding mental health and wellness?
I don’t want people to do what I did and feel like, “There’s something wrong with me. Why aren’t I like everybody else?” I didn’t get help as a young woman — I didn’t know what was wrong with me and I didn’t understand the thoughts I had and why I would isolate and feel all of these things. I was just so depressed but I didn’t understand I was depressed. Believe me, there are millions of people all over the world who feel the same way. They’ve just got to go and get help. If you had a bad leg or a bad arm, you would go and get it fixed. This is your brain, and it’s not firing the way it should, so you go get it fixed. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It hurts me that there are people living with this and … don’t know where to go, how to take that first step and call a helpline.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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