Lil Wayne has detailed his mental struggles that led to an attempted suicide at age 12.
The rapper discussed his troubles as a boy, admitting during an appearance on "Uncomfortable Conversations with Emmanuel Acho" that he tried to shoot himself in the chest with a gun. It was not an impulsive decision.
Lil Wayne explained that he had been harboring suicidal thoughts since he was 10 years old but finally decided to act on them two years later, when he felt like his dreams of being a rapper were being squashed.
"I couldn't have what I wanted, what I dreamed of, what I desired, and that was to rap," he said. "I was willing to die for it."
Lil Wayne was growing up with his single mom in New Orleans. Without a father around, she ruled the household with an iron fist.
Things reached a boiling point when an aunt discovered Lil Wayne had been cutting school and threatened to tell his mother, who would no longer allow him to rap. So Lil Wayne explained that he called the police then took out his mother’s gun and shot himself in the chest, narrowly missing his heart.
"How I knew I had a mental health problem [is] I pulled the trigger," said the singer, who wrote about the attempted suicide in his 2015 song "London Roads."
Police responding to his call rushed Lil Wayne to the hospital, where staff were able to save his life. Looking back, Lil Wayne said the cry for help was because he felt like he could not talk about what he was going through. The suicide attempt changed his relationship with his mother, who was very tough on him, for the best.
"What I never said was: The mom that I knew before that day ... I have never met or seen or heard that lady again in my life," he said. "So I didn't die that day, but somebody was gone. She's never been that way [again]," having her eyes opened to her son's troubles and starting to support him. "Changed life for her, [me] and our whole family."
Lil Wayne said he was speaking out because he hoped it would encourage others to open up about their own struggles and also take mental health more seriously.
"It’s real," he said. "We should only react in the realest way possible."
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
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