Monica Lewinsky discusses her mental health during the Clinton scandal
Monica Lewinsky became a household name after she famously had an affair with President Bill Clinton during the 1990s while interning at the White House.
In a recent podcast interview with CNN, Lewinsky discussed how the investigation into the scandal, along with the global pressure from the media, drove her to have suicidal thoughts.
"I just couldn't see a way out. And I thought that maybe that was the solution," she said, explaining how she had asked lawyers working for then-independent counsel Ken Starr about what would happen if she died.
Thinking back on her experience, she asks, "How was there not a protocol?" to deal with a unique situation like hers. "That's a point where you're supposed to bring a psychologist in or, you know, something," she said.
At the worst moment of her life, when she was seized by the FBI, questioned about her affair w/Bill Clinton & threatened W/prison, @MonicaLewinsky couldn’t see a way out. “What if I die?” she asked the lawyers interrogating her.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) September 30, 2021
The interview comes as new light is being shed on the affair in a dramatised FX series called Impeachment: American Crime Story, for which Lewinsky is a producer.
Monica told the interviewer that after being dismissed by Ken Starr, she began seeing a forensic psychiatrist that helped her get through the ordeal.
"I think a lot of people who have ever had suicidal ideations find themselves in a moment where it's just – it's a moment of grace, like, you know, two roads diverged in the woods," she said.
"And the forensic psychiatrist picked up the phone. And so I was, you know, pretty, pretty lucky."
In an essay published by Vanity Fair in 2014, Monica said she had never attempted suicide but that she had "strong suicidal temptations several times during the investigation and one or two periods after."
Monica told the podcast that she constantly had to fight to not be defined by the affair after her views of the situation changed in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
"My narrative was stolen and then I lost it by trying to recede, trying to run away from everything that had happened for many years," she said, adding that part of "the work" she had to put in was accepting that she would have to face her past.
She said that through working on the series, she was able to reclaim her story in the eyes of the public.
"This story is about real people and I'm involved in it, but it's also about something bigger. It reflects something bigger in our society. And so as our society changes, there are different ways that this story feels relevant," Lewinsky said.
Check out the trailer for the series here:
Image credits: Getty Images