How Sinead O’Connor’s journey can be a lesson in compassion for us all

Jenna Martin
4 min readJul 28

This is a blog I wrote in 2015, and one I’d like to revive, given Sinead’s recent passing because her life, her journey, and her music left an imprint on my heart. And because as a trauma survivor, her story feels so very personal.

Here’s the original post:

It’s 4:00 p.m. here in Boston, and as the sun begins to make its descent I notice something in my newsfeed. The words “Sinead O’Connor” and “suicide” flash across the screen. “I hate social media”, I tell myself simultaneously clicking on the link. It’s not morbid curiosity that urges me on, but a genuine love and compassion for this incredible soul who has touched my life in ways she can never comprehend. In my 20’s it was Sinead’s courage to be herself that inspired me to seek more authenticity. Her hard-edged otherworldliness gave me a sense of comfort I still find difficult to articulate.

“I have a universe inside me. There I can go where Spirit guides me.”

I open the page. I read her words. I instantly understand her pain. Unlike most cries for help, this feels more like a deep and tremendous ache that shreds my insides from one end to the other. I feel her rage so keenly. The leftover cries for a mother who would leave her outside for days on end with no food. The sexual abuse she suffered, again, with no one to rescue her or help her heal; the hysterectomy that although she willing chose, still feels like a violation and robbery in the aftermath.

“I want to know more Sinead,” I whisper. “Tell me more.”

And so I begin to research. I uncover all of the history behind her current state. At least what I can from tabloid articles and doctors postulating about her medical conditions. Sinead herself has never been one to hide from her history. She has opened herself up to her fans, and the world, in the hopes that her wisdom and her sorrow will help others. And yet…here she is. Begging for relief. The safety within, the love within, still so far from her grasp. I scroll through the comments on her Facebook page and one user implores Sinead: “You were so beautiful Sinead. What happened?”

I feel compelled to answer this user now and all people who seek to reconcile the 90s version of Sinead with the…

Jenna Martin

Resilience coach. Mindfulness teacher. Dedicated to helping little and big humans thrive through adversity. Author of Milo & The Wisdom of the Sea.