AJ Lee On her Mental Health Issues, Awareness

Posted By James Walsh on 11/22/21

AJ Lee has been open about her struggles with maintaining mental health, and she recently discussed those struggles during her time in WWE. Lee appeared on General Hospital star Maurice Benardís State of Mind podcast and talked about her experiences with bipolar disorder and how they led to a close call toward the end of her WWE run. You can check out the video and some highlights below, per Fightful:

On her first suicide attempt: ďWhen I was 19 or 20 when I had overdosed and had my first suicide attempt when I became a suicide survivor for the first time, I didnít know. I just thought it was just my brain, very matter-of-factly saying, ĎThereís a pain and we needed to stop it,í and that was terrifying to me not understanding what was happening, but just like, ĎOh, well, this is the solution.í Then when you survive something like that, for me, personally, and I donít know if itís like everybody, but for me, the scary thing is how it almost becomes ó it stays with you. Itís like always an option. Itís like your darkness will always tell you itís an option. So thatís something you have to fight constantly.Ē

On having suicidal ideation toward the end of her time in WWE: ďSo the next time something scary got to that point, I was having really bad suicidal ideation. I didnít go through with the attempt, however, I did book a hotel room to die in. Because I didnít want my husband to find me. You know, I didnít want him to have to deal with that. So I was just thinking very matter-of-factly. Nobody knew, and this is actually why I became a mental health advocate and why I decided to write the book and write about this, and this I havenít talked about yet. But, from the outside world, it would have seemed like I have everything in the whole world. I was on TV, Iím a champion, dream career, got married, like, perfect, wonderful year.

ďBut a lot of times with bipolar disorder, big life changes, kind of throw you off. With the high, youíre going to hit a low. So in the same year of my life, I moved to a different state. I got married. I got really sick. I had to take time off work for surgeries. Actually, during one of the breaks I had, you know how this is because General Hospital has no time off. Thatís what wrestling is. No offseason, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. So the only time I ever got time off was surgery. So me and my husband were like, ĎLetís just sneak a wedding in here.í Thatís how we got married. So, everythingís happening really fast and itís just like chaos and a tornado of highs and lows and life. But I was really sick and I was scared that I had to have multiple surgeries. So all this stuff is happening. Then, I got hurt in the ring. Then, my husband got sued. it was just all of a sudden that you know, there was stuff in my family. So itís all this stuff happening in the same year. So my careerís great and everythingís going great and I have my husband, but my bipolar disorder couldnít handle it. It was too much for me and I wasnít taking care of myself the way I should. I wasnít in therapy consistently. I was playing fast and loose with my medication. Because I was being really vain about it because I gained weight when Iím on my medication. So I was, you know, ĎIím on TV. I canít óí Iíd rather be alive than have a six-pack. But, yeah. So during this chaos, the only solution to me, the only thing I could do was just, I booked a hotel room. That was my plan.Ē

On reaching out for help at that point: ďI, at some point, realized, ĎOkay, this isnít my brain. Itís the darkness talking. I called the suicide prevention hotline. The tricky thing about that is my phone number was out of the area code and you have to ó they have to route your number by area code, so they can send emergency services if they need to. So once they found out I wasnít where my area code was, they were like, ĎYou have to call this number. This is your local one, you have to do this, please promise youíll call this number, write this number down.í I didnít write it down, just hung up. I was like, ĎThatís the sign. Iím supposed to do this.í So I went back to it, and then something else was like, ĎNo, no, no, Try again. Try again.í I was like, I donít have the number. I donít have the number. Maybe I should call 311. And ask them for the number.í So I call this ó first of all, only I would have the hilarious suicide attempt, like where it just goes wrong and somebody like you have the wrong number when you call. Only me.

ďSo like, ĎOkay, 311 might help me get the right number.í The man on the other end of the phoneÖ This man was so patient and so kind. I donít even understand what happened. But I just started telling him everything. This kind stranger who gets noise complaints, right? This is not his job. I didnít realize that it was the first time in a long, long time, someone had shown me kindness, and was just like, ĎOh, that sucks.í Like, for so long, people just thought I was like, on the top of the world, and Iím the caretaker in my family and what I was providing for everybody. But there wasnít anyone. Anybody checking in on me. So itís just ó I didnít realize ó I just needed somebody to check in on me. It was this tiny, small act of kindness that literally saved my life. Like, I donít know his name. I just remember his voice. I can hear his voice right now. He was just kind and patient and he just listened. That was enough for me to go, ĎOkay, I need to go home. This is terrifying.í So that I just thought like, I could handle it on my own. So what I realized from that was that I needed to talk about my diagnosis, because a huge problem was I was hiding it, like the world didnít know at the time that I was bipolar and never talked about my mental health. So I needed to, like, come out of hiding.Ē

If you are considering harming yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or use the Crisis Text Line by texting ďNAMIĒ to 741741. Those in the UK can get help by calling the Samaritans helpline on 116 123.