Content warning: This story includes mentions of suicidal ideation and self-harm.
Paris Jackson has been open in the past about dealing with suicidal ideation. And in a raw new interview on Red Table Talk, Jackson spoke candidly about her past suicide attempts and how her mental health is doing now.
In 2016, after enduring years of cyberbullying and the death of her father (pop legend Michael Jackson), she revealed that she tried to take her own life. And in a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Jackson said she had attempted suicide multiple times.
“A lot of people do feel regret when they try to attempt suicide, like a last-minute regret. There have been times where I did and times where I didn’t, where I was upset that it didn’t work,” Jackson told Willow Smith, who has also spoken about her experience with self-harm, in the new interview. “But I can say several years later that I’m really grateful that it didn’t. Things have gotten better,” Jackson said.
One thing that helped her initially work toward a better headspace was “the radical acceptance that [suicide] just wasn’t meant to be,” she said. “Maybe it’s just not my time. Maybe I’ll just wait it out, which is so dark.” But 23-year-old Jackson said that “during that waiting time, I’ve just found more and more joys in life and more ways to cope and more ways to really live instead of just exist.”
Jackson also spoke about experiencing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after years of intense encounters with the paparazzi. She said she experiences auditory hallucinations (including sounds of cameras clicking and trash bags rustling) as well as nightmares. But Jackson said that she’s been undergoing eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, in which patients follow a moving light back and forth with their eyes. “It puts you in a very fragile and vulnerable state,” she explained, but she also called it “very effective.” (Prince Harry also recently revealed that he’s been using EMDR therapy.)
Now, Jackson is also a fan of affirmations, which she admits can feel uncomfortable at first. And she’s getting more and more comfortable with herself. In fact, she recalled a moment last autumn when she first felt genuine love for herself—during a full moon no less. “I was having a really rough night because some old memories came up,” she explained. After sitting by herself for a while, Jackson got up and did some affirmations in the mirror. “Once I finished, I saw myself,” she said, “and recognized myself for the first time in 10 years.”
If you’re thinking about hurting yourself or just need someone to talk to right now, you can get support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by texting HOME to 741-741, the Crisis Text Line. And here is a list of international suicide helplines if you’re outside the United States.