The Mighty Logo

Jameela Jamil Contemplated Suicide After Being Accused of Munchausen

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

In a lengthy message shared on Twitter, actress Jameela Jamil aimed to put to rest the bullying questions she’s faced about her health after she was accused of manufacturing her health conditions. This included her sharing how the recent online abuse led her to consider suicide.

While Jamil’s health advocacy across a number of chronic illnesses and mental health issues has caused controversy in the past, the latest incident involves a viral Instagram story which accused Jamil of having Munchausen syndrome — a mental health condition, now called factitious disorder, that leads people to “fake” symptoms to meet their emotional needs. Her response to that accusation only led to additional pile-on from high-profile celebrities such as Piers Morgan.

On Saturday, Jamil tweeted a final statement in a series of screenshots she hoped would put to rest all of the controversies that blossomed over the previous week. After explaining her past history with modeling, she again outlined the chronic illnesses she lives with, before revealing the abuse and speculation over the past week led her to experience suicidal thoughts.

“Last week triggered me to a point of near death,” Jamil wrote. “I have a fragile past with suicide. If you live in pain and have to survive a lot, just to still be here, it’s *agonizing* to have people tell you that you made it up.”

People who live with invisible illnesses and chronic illness often face questions about the validity of their diagnoses and are told their symptoms are “all in their head.” In her tweet, Jamil also pointed out the conspiracy theory she was inventing her health conditions was started by a “privileged white woman,” highlighting that discrimination based on invisible illness is even more common among people of color.

Mighty contributor Christiana Ares-Christian shared a similar experience, including being told by a relative she had Munchausen syndrome, in the article, “Why Jameela Jamil Being Accused of Having Munchausen Syndrome Is Personal.”

“For women, particularly women of color, it is difficult to get taken seriously when we advocate to get a diagnosis and live our lives with invisible disabilities,” Ares-Christian wrote, adding:

It can feel as if we’re always on the defensive, especially as we strive to live, work and enjoy ourselves in a society that is patriarchal and able-bodied. On top of that, we deal with prejudice, discrimination and racism. … Jamil is a celebrity who has been open about her invisible disabilities. The fact that people think it’s OK to demean and ridicule her makes me wonder what they’d say about me, about my girlfriends of color who have invisible disabilities and have to navigate the world in ways that the majority don’t even consider.

Jamil concluded her message by recognizing others with invisible illnesses face similar experiences, which can be traumatizing and difficult to face on your own.

“I am so sorry to all the people who shared their accounts of not being believed over their chronic health problems and invisible disabilities. I’ve experienced that my whole life and it’s traumatizing and isolating,” Jamil wrote. “What happened to me was incredibly cruel and scary and it triggered a lot of people who live in the same situation as me. Our lives are hard enough without gaslighting and abuse and I’m glad at least we know we have each other because all that shit is out in the open.”

Image via Creative Commons/georgedarrell

Originally published: February 24, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home