"There was just several things going on at that time. I was just broken down," the singer recalled
The Jolene singer is one of those people who seems to be happy all the time. You would have never thought that the legend was once on the brink of ending her life and is only here with us today because her beloved pet dog Popeye saved her life.
"People are always saying to me I’m happy all the time but nobody is happy all the time." And her unhappiness led to her picking up a gun and nearly ending her life," Parton had once said. "Depression runs in my family on both sides and I have to be wary, It’s usually brought on by something that’s going on in the family and if there are problems sometimes it’s a lot for one little person to carry. Every once in a while I just feel you know... sad-hearted and melancholy. There are times when you just don’t want to get up," she said in an interview with the Mirror UK. One of the darkest phases in her life lasted for two years and It got so bad that she had to withdraw from all her professional commitments.
Around 1984, Parton was told that her partial hysterectomy meant that she may never be able to bear a child. The singer recalled how things went downhill from there in a podcast, "I got overweight and I was going through the change of life, I was having a lot female problems, I’d been going through a whole lot of family things, just the stress, the heartache. There was just several things going on at that time. I was just broken down."
This however wasn't the only heartbreak Parton was facing, she also "cried an ocean" after separation from a "special friend". "For about six months there I woke up every morning feeling dead," she said in an interview for Ladies' Home Journal. This "affair of the heart" led her down a dark path so she turned to her faith for a sign. "I was having some serious conversations with God during that time. I just said things like, 'Look this is ridiculous, I am not happy,' (and) arguing about why when they say you shouldn’t commit suicide because that’s a sin you can’t get forgiven for. Everything was just confusing to me and I was just angry and I was hurt, and I was unhappy and so I just said ‘You’re going to have to get me some answers or I’m getting out of here. And then we’ll both deal with it,'" Parton recalled in a podcast.
Parton would soon reach an all-time low where death seemed to be the only escape to her. She recollected how she spotted a handgun in her bedroom, stared at it for a while before picking it up. Just as she was all prepared to end things, she was startled out of her thoughts by her dog, Popeye. "The tap-tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality. I suddenly froze. I put the gun down," she recalled in an interview with the Ladies' Home Journal. Parton took this as the sign she had been waiting for, "My little dog, Popeye, at the time, he jumped up on the bed about the time I was writing my—you know. God is dog spelt backwards, and I always thought that might have been the very thing," she said in a podcast.
Parton now says that these emotionally overwhelming periods have made her stronger and she credits her triumph over them to her faith, "Sometimes God just has to smack you down. He was almost saying, 'Sit your pretty little ass down because we have to deal with some stuff, after that I was twice the person I ever was. It was good for me," she told the Mirror UK.