Tyler Perry is speaking candidly about his own struggles with mental health in the wake of the death of Ellen show DJ, Stephen “Twitch” Boss.
The prolific director posted a video to his Instagram account on Thursday simply titled “Life…” in which he opened up about the impact Boss’s death was having on him and his own battles with depression and suicidal thoughts. “I, like the rest of the world, am shocked by the death of Stephen Boss, Twitch,” he began, “I’ve only met him a couple of times. He was always full of life, it seemed like, such a light.” Perry added that he felt called to share this personal message for anyone “going through hard times, struggling,” before recalling some “dark” times he’d been through in his own life. He explained, “I want to take you back to a time in my life when I tried to commit suicide, a couple of times, because it was so dark I didn’t think it would get any better. I had endured so much pain, so much abuse, sexual abuse, it was all so hard to just move through that I thought the only way to make this better was to end my life. Had any of those attempts happened, I would’ve missed the best part of my life.”
Perry then encouraged anyone who is currently “going through some things” to reach out for help. “I know it may seem like there’s no hope, but please reach out to someone…call, ask for help if you are dealing with anything that is emotionally taking you to a place where you think you want to end your life,” he urged, before sharing a major lesson from his own experiences with depression. “What I realize now, looking back on all those dark times, is sometimes the pain is a buy-in,” the filmmaker said. “I know that’s hard to understand. Not all the time—sometimes—the pain is a buy-in. That’s the way I had to learn to look at it to get through it. What I mean by that is, all that pain, all that hell, all that struggle, if I had given up, if I had stopped, I wouldn’t have seen the better part of my life. I was buying into something, I was paying for something.”
The Madea star continued, “I know that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people but for me, it was the way I was able to rationalize it, to be able to move through the pain, knowing that if I could just get through this moment, there’s got to be something better.” Because now, he’s “the happiest I’ve ever been” and his “life is full of joy and love, things I never thought I’d get to. I’m saying that to you, if you are a person who’s considering suicide, ending your life, and you’ve already been through a lot of hell, please, please, please, think about what the other side could be. It could be amazing. And you would miss the best part of it going through the darkness. Don’t let the darkness stop you from getting to this incredible place of life.”
Perry then provided the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, saying, “My hope is that if you need help, that you reach out. Call this number. God bless you. I’m with you. I’m a living witness you can make it through it. I’m so glad my attempts didn’t work. I’m still alive. The best part of my life, and I would’ve missed it had I decided to end it…Well I did, but, it didn’t work.” He concluded, “Let’s end this new year loving us, loving on each other, encouraging ourselves, this is gonna take that from within. God bless you. Rest in peace, Twitch.”
Boss’s wife, Allison Holker, confirmed the shocking news of her husband’s passing on Wednesday in a statement to People, writing, “Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him. He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans. To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt. I am certain there won’t be a day that goes by that we won’t honor his memory.”