Schyman: 'I considered taking my life'

David Landes
David Landes - [email protected]
Schyman: 'I considered taking my life'

Former Left Party leader and founder of the Feminist Initiative (FI) political party Gudrun Schyman has admitted in an interview that she contemplated suicide when she took a time out from politics to battle alcoholism in 1996.


The time out came following a display of public drunkenness at a movie premiere.

“I felt like I was portrayed as a criminal. To develop an illness is human, but I was just considered scum. I, who was a successful party leader, became my substance abuse and nothing more. I went out with the thought of taking my life,” said Schyman to the Svenska Dagblaget (SvD) newspaper.

“I had disappointed so much and so many, most of all my two children. How could I undue the damage I had caused them? I could sit in the car and think, ‘Now I’m going to take my hands off the wheel, I don’t give a crap about all this.'”

In the interview Schyman also explained the challenges she faced growing up with an alcoholic father in the Stockholm suburb of Täby in the 1950s.

“He couldn’t hold down a job and was fired from one after the other. Our household finances were torn apart,” she said.

“I thought, 'I should be more important than alcohol. How can he choose it before me?' I kept that feeling with me until I found myself in the same situation. That’s when I first could understand my father, that it wasn’t about not choosing his children but about having an illness.”

Schyman returned to lead the Left Party in 1998, only to be forced to resign her post in 2003 following mistakes on her tax return in which she classified taxpayers' expenses as her own.

In 2005 she helped found FI, and continues to serve as the party’s spokesperson.

Schyman also hosts a discussion programme on TV8.


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