Dolly Parton shares one of her own anxiety struggles to de-stigmatize mental health issues

Dolly Parton was one of the guest speakers at the #WOW: Whole Health Includes Mental Health virtual event, which took place this week. The country legend performed her 1977 song “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” and reflected on the period of anxiety and depression that she experienced leading up to writing it, People reports.

Dolly spoke about a major career shift she was going through at the time, admitting that she felt so anxious she “couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t think straight.”

The song arrived just three years after Dolly’s professional break with Porter Wagoner, after getting her first taste of success while singing on his television show. In the years that followed, both artists admitted the split was a painful one.

“But, through much prayer and the support of my friends, I finally stood my ground and I walked away,” Dolly explained during her #WOW2021 appearance, speaking generally of the growing pains her career underwent in the mid-’70s. “And on my way home, I wrote this song, and I hope it’ll lift you up like it did me.”

In her speech, Dolly stressed how common mental health issues are. “We all experience moments of anxiety or depression at one time or another,” the singer noted. “And I believe it’s how we handle those moments that ultimately define us.”

She also brought her trademark sense of humor to the conversation, quipping, “I’m often told I look so happy, but to be honest — that’s the Botox. Well, not all of it, but some of it, anyway!”