In a candid and deeply personal interview, Jada Pinkett Smith revealed her struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide that plagued her life as she turned 40 in 2011. The actress, now 52, opened up about her harrowing experience in a cover story for People magazine.
Pinkett Smith didn’t hold back as she described her battle with depression during this tumultuous period in her life. “I couldn’t figure a way out besides death. So I made a plan,” she confessed. She went on to share how the negative voices in her head were pushing her towards self-destruction, telling her that she was worthless.
‘[The voices were telling me] “Just kill yourself. You’re not worth anything, you ain’t s***.” I started looking for places, cliffs where I could have an accident, because I didn’t want my kids to think that their mother had committed suicide.’
The actress, who is a mother of two, went to great lengths to protect her children from the pain of losing their mother to suicide. She recounted searching for places, even cliffs, where she could stage an accident to avoid leaving behind that painful legacy for her kids.
It was during this challenging period that her son, Jaden Smith, recognized her suffering and introduced her to a potentially life-changing solution – ayahuasca, a plant-based psychedelic drug. Jaden initiated a crucial mother-son conversation in their kitchen, sharing a friend’s father’s transformative experience with the substance.
‘I’ve learned how to tune into each one of them and understand their superpowers. And so when Jaden came to me that day and he’s like, “Mom, you got to to hear this. My friend’s dad, he had this experience. I need you to come in here and listen,”‘ Pinkett Smith recalled.
Pinkett Smith recalled how this conversation opened up a world of healing for her. She was willing to explore this unconventional path in her journey toward recovery.
The Smith family, including Jada, has since participated in ayahuasca ceremonies, which are often led by a shaman in South America. Jada revealed how this experience helped her establish a profound and intimate relationship with herself, one she had never experienced before. Most importantly, it alleviated her suicidal thoughts entirely, marking a turning point in her life.
‘Ayahuasca helped me, it gave me a new intimate relationship with myself that I had never had before,’ Jada claimed.
‘The suicidal thoughts completely went away.’
The Impact of Ayahuasca on Mental Health: Stories and Evidence
Previously, Jada Pinkett Smith had sought relief from depression and suicidal ideation through medication, including Prozac, in her youth. However, her encounter with Will Smith in 1994 on the set of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” led her to believe that she was cured. She became entangled in her love for Will, describing him as her “drug.” Their intense dynamic overshadowed her focus on mental health and self-care, ultimately leading her to abandon those aspects of her well-being.
‘Once I met Will, I completely abandoned my mental health,’ the African Queens producer-narrator explained.
‘I was so intoxicated by him and our dynamic. I really felt like I’m cured. He became the drug.’
The couple’s relationship faced challenges, and they eventually separated in 2016. During that same year, Jada became embroiled in a public controversy when she acknowledged having an “entanglement” with August Alsina, a friend of her son Jaden, creating further turbulence in her personal life.