It’s difficult to live openly with depression, at least in my experience. When you’re feeling your worst, you can’t say anything at all. And when you’re feeling your best, it’s hard to explain the worst as more than an absence. “For three days, I couldn’t talk … knew nothing,” Sharon Osbourne told The Talk in 2016 about a hospitalization the previous year for her mental health, and that’s about as good a description as I’ve heard. Osbourne, who has spoken more openly about her struggle with depression than most celebrities (really, than most people), took things a step further this week and detailed the events surrounding her 2016 suicide attempt, including the young girls she met in treatment after who had the biggest effect on her. As Osbourne describes it, meeting these girls jolted in her a realization about just how much her kids needed her, and helped her find the motivation to push forward in her treatment.
Osbourne tells her Talk co-hosts that the her experience at the treatment center was marked most vividly by hearing these stories.
“There were two girls there with me, and they were in there because they were drinking and using drugs,” she explains. “They weren’t even related. Young girls, and both of them, their mothers had committed suicide. And it messed them up so bad, that they couldn’t cope with their life and that shocked me into, ‘C’mon, am I going to do this to my family, to my babies? No way.’ And that shocked me — it was like an electric shock and it was like, get it together.”
“It was like, look at these two girls. If I try this again, this could be my kids,” she added.
Osbourne’s story is deeply moving, and I can’t imagine the effect meeting these girls must have had on her at this particular time in her life. At the same time, I want to caution against the idea that, if people with severe depression and suicidal ideation just realized how their actions affected their loved ones, they would be able to “get it together.” As Osbourne explains herself, depression is not a one-and-done, straightforward illness with beginning, middle, and end. You wade through it all your life, and you learn what helps you along the way. For Osbourne, the image of her children in distress gave her the help she needed — and you can take to heart the story of Osbourne’s recovery without assuming it will look the same for everyone.
For more information on the warning signs and prevention of suicide, click here. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org, or text “START” to 741-741 to immediately speak to a trained counselor at Crisis Text Line.
Before you go, click here to see all the celebrities who have opened up about their depression and anxiety.