Former first lady Barbara Bush came close to killing herself

HOUSTON — Barbara Bush’s depression ran so deep, she considered driving into a tree or an oncoming car. That’s when she would pull over.

“I felt terrible,” she told Susan Page for “The Matriarch,” a new biography coming out Tuesday. “I mean, I felt really depressed. I really wasn’t brave enough to do that, but that’s why I pulled over.”

Bush’s depression is only one aspect Page highlights in an effort to deepen our view of the former first lady, who died at 92 last year, People reports.

“Barbara Bush was the public figure Americans felt they knew most but really understood least,” Page writes.

The “down-to-earth grandmother who sported a triple strand of faux pearls and joked about her wrinkles” was part of it, she adds, but “decidedly incomplete.”

“The Matriarch” also touches on Bush’s intense dislike for President Donald Trump and allegations that her husband, President George H.W. Bush, had an affair with an aide.

According to a Page source, the aide “had begun what was at least a flirtatious relationship” with Bush that included “whispered conversations” and “giggly” phone chats.

But Barbara Bush’s depression appears the deeper struggle.

It happened in the late 1970s after she and Bush returned from his China ambassadorship so he could lead the CIA.

Barbara Bush blamed the secrecy of the job, menopause, children leaving the home, as well as the women’s movement, which “at that time — it isn’t so true anymore — sort of made women who stayed at home feel inadequate,” she told NPR in 1994.

Anyone considering suicide is urged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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