Lil Wayne Details Surviving a Suicide Attempt at 12, Talks Mental Health: 'I Am Here for a Reason'
Editor's note: This article contains graphic descriptions of a suicide attempt.
Lil Wayne is getting candid about his mental health as a child.
In an interview with Emmanuel Acho on his Uncomfortable Conversations podcast, the "Uproar" rapper, 38, told the story of the time he shot himself in the chest after suffering from a mental health crisis at the age of 12.
After an aunt told him he wouldn't be able to continue his rap career since he was caught ditching school, Wayne said he experienced suicidal ideation before grabbing a gun from his mother's bedroom and attempting to end his life.
"I was just looking and was like you know what — start thinking I had to get myself mad and then noticed I didn't have to," he said. "That's what scared me. And how I know I have mental health problems was [that] I pulled the trigger."
After pointing the gun to his head and calling the police, he decided to shoot himself in the chest.
"As a kid, all you remember is that when you're going to see the white and I thought that was the white — I swear to God I did,"he said, adding that he was located by the officers. "Then, the knocking woke me up out of that, but then they stopped and once they stopped knocking I said, 'OK, they must've left.' It took too long. It took too long for getting me to that death. I was still just laying there and didn't feel a thing, but it was taking too long. So, I said s— I am here for a reason."
"The blood was pouring out of my chest so much that it made it easy for me to slide with my shirt on the wood across the floor. I made it all the way there. All the energy I had left was to kick the door," he continued, before the police officers found his body and instead of helping him, boasted about finding drugs.
"I was spitting all in his face, blood and everything and all I was trying to tell was I'm not a baby. He kept saying, 'Do you not see the f—ing baby on the ground with a hole in his chest?'" he said, referring to 'Uncle Bob,' a top cop who had also arrived at the scene. "He was screaming at him and he must've been the boss because they all came in the room and was like, 'Oh sorry boss, we called the ambulance.' And he was like, 'I don't give a f—.'"
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Wayne said the only thing that kept him alive in that moment was "God. Plain and simple." The rapper added that he was never able to detail the mental health problems he was facing to his mother — "You don't speak in that language. You don't speak up. You don't tell your opinion," he explained — and his father was never in the picture.
"When you have no one to vent to, no one to get this out to, you can't bring it to your friends at school because you're still trying to be cool to them, you're not tryna let them know, 'I got something going on at home,'" he said. "Also, what I never said was… the mom that I knew before that day, on my life, and everyone's life. I have never met, or seen, or heard that lady again in my life."
"So I didn't die that day, but somebody was gone. She's never been that way ever again," he continued. "As far as the parents out there, obviously that was an eye-opener for her. And what she decided to do was, I let my flower grow."
Wayne explained that the suicide attempt changed his mother and his family forever. He explained that as he became a star by his late teens and early 20s, the mental health issues "didn't go away" but "came in a different way because of the maturity."
"You start to think, 'Do anyone actually care? Will it matter when it's all over? Will I matter?' And that's always the question," he explained, before sharing that today, he's "happy" and feels productive as he's able to continue making music and doing what he loves.
"That's what I love," he said. "That's who I am I guess —a simple cliché. That's who I was born to be."
Wayne says he now prays every single day to help cope with his mental health issues and that he hopes people understand that mental health issues are real and that "there is no bar to measure who real."
"If you are a parent of a kid with a mental health problem or something, even if you think, react with the realest reaction," he said. "I ain't saying be like my mom, but all I know is from that day forward I've never seen that lady ever again. That was the realest reaction she could've gave."
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.