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What I Realized After Meghan Markle Said She 'Didn't Want to Be Alive'

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On March 7, millions of people tuned in to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s tell-all interview with Oprah. It was expected to be shocking and revealing in many ways, especially since the couple officially split from the royal family and have been living in the States for the past year. While the shock factor held true, there was one moment in particular that left me — and many others — totally stunned. 

One of the major reasons Harry and Meghan split from the royal family was due to the tabloids and attacks of racism against her. While of course things would never be perfect, the media was especially harsh on Meghan for being a mixed-race woman. As a white woman, I could never really relate to that, but I always felt bad at how people seemed to nitpick every little thing she did. I could imagine how exhausting it must have been to constantly put on a happy face — something many of us with mental illnesses do, but to have the media always staring at you would just add to the monumental stress.

And that stress — of representing the monarchy, of being relatively alone in a new country, of being with a family who did very little to protect her — nearly drove Meghan to suicide.

In a moment of her interview, the Duchess of Sussex revealed to a stunned Oprah, “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, that I would do it. And I just didn’t… I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”

We live in a generation of nihilists. With the turmoil of the world in the past few years — especially in 2020 — it’s not uncommon for people to say that just want to die. And luckily, there isn’t quite as much a stigma for getting help as there has been in the past.

But to hear someone so well known and someone I personally admire admit she was suicidal shook me to my core.

In just a few sentences, she nailed how many suicidal people feel — ashamed to admit it, especially to those who have already suffered loss, and the feeling that you simply don’t want to be alive anymore.

Meghan also discusses how the royal family did not encourage her to seek help. She also admitted to Harry that she couldn’t be left alone because of what she might do.

And then later on, she gives the reason for sharing such a personal revelation: “I share this because there’s so many people who… are afraid to voice that they need help. And I know personally how hard it is to voice it, but when you voice it to be told no.”

I was diagnosed with depression over 15 years ago. I’ve been passively suicidal even before that, and I’ve had many moments where I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. I’ve grown so used to these feelings and thoughts that it barely raises a concern for me. Since I unfortunately have no way to get professional help due to astronomical health care costs, my depressive and suicidal episodes have simply become a part of me. I figure that if I ever do it, it’ll just have been a long time coming, anyway.

Yet the Duchess’s words turned on a lightbulb in my head. Not wanting to be alive anymore is a cry for help, even if that cry is silenced by the world — or even your own thoughts. And her revelation convinced me that I’m not OK and haven’t been for a long time.

Maybe others are in the same boat, that her words are what’s urging people to finally get help after realizing they’re not OK Meghan used her voice, and now it’s time for us to use ours. Even if you’re like me and not in a financial position to get help, there’s always someone who will listen — a friend, a family member, someone on a hotline, a friend online. Talk to someone who will say, yes, I am here for you. We are not alone.

Screenshot via TODAY on YouTube

Originally published: March 8, 2021
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