Michael jackson‘s Paris Jackson, his 22-year-old daughter talks about her long-standing struggle with depression and how she manages her symptoms today. In a moving episode of the new Facebook Watch show Unfiltered: Paris Jackson & Gabriel Glenn, Paris explains the lows of her depression throughout adolescence, including self-harm and several suicide attempts. Her story is so important, not least because of the invaluable information she brings to the thought process of a teenager struggling with depression. Paris’ lucid view of how and why she was pushed to the actions she took is a powerful reminder that mental health should be addressed at any age.
Paris JacksonDark memories of days after father Michael Jackson’s death mean so much
When Paris was 11, her father Michael Jackson passed away and she moved in with her grandmother Katherine. It was during this time that Paris says she began seeking release for her feelings of anger and pain, seeking solace in food first.
“I gained a lot of weight and the food became addictive,” she says. “I was like, ‘OK, I can’t do this anymore.’ And that’s how I got into self-harm.
Paris makes it clear what self-harm was used for for her, noting the physical reaction to a dopamine release as well as a psychological sense of control, at a time when her emotions seemed out of control and frightening.
“I was always the one in control… I knew how far I was going,” she said of self-harm. “Part of it was the release of dopamine. And dopamine is called dope for a reason… there are a lot of things that cause dopamine to be released and self-harm is one of them, tattoos are one of them. Part of it was that and then it was also a distraction from emotional pain and the transfer of physical pain and the need for control.
Paris eventually went to a CPS-mandated boarding school and says some of her problems were resolved there, but others emerged. She has tried antidepressants, but has yet to find a drug that works for her beyond creating a feeling of numbness:
“For me, my depression comes in waves, so even though the lows are unbearably low, I still prefer that to nothing,” she says. “I used to take antidepressants and mood stabilizers and it darkened my third eye a bit.”
What Paris is focusing on now is pure and simple happiness – or at least contentment. “I want to influence self-acceptance and courage and be comfortable in your own skin,” she says. “I’m just working on the content. I’m just trying to be happy. No baby. “
Obviously, Paris has taken more than small steps since the days she describes – and the clarity she has on her mental and emotional needs proves it.
For more information on warning signs and prevention of suicide, Click here. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org, or text “START” to 741-741 to speak immediately to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor.
Click on here to see 37 celebrities who spoke about the fight against depression.