Singer Janet Jackson opened up about battling depression, saying the “tenacious” condition had her in its grip from her childhood.
The 52-year-old Grammy winner said low self-esteem, issues of racism and sexism add to the toxic mix of mental health struggles.
In an open letter for Essence magazine, Jackson writes, “I struggled with depression. The struggle was intense... Low self-esteem might be rooted in childhood feelings of inferiority. It could relate to failing to meet impossibly high standards. And of course there are always the societal issues of racism and sexism.
“Put it all together and depression is a tenacious and scary condition. Thankfully, I found my way through it.”
Youngest of 10 siblings, including Micheal, Jermaine, Randy and Tito Jackson, in the musician family, the singer says she suffered from inferiority complex with respect to her looks.
“I was happy when my brothers came home from performing on the road. I was happy when my mother lavished me with love. But I wasn’t happy with the way I looked?”
In her teenage years, she was at her happiest where she would perform for herself.
“Happiness came when people asked me to perform? But I was happiest when I was pleasing others and not myself. An older and wiser Janet might have said, ?True happiness is knowing you’re doing the best you can?’” she writes.
But her 30s were the most challenging.
“These were difficult years, when I struggled with depression, The struggle was intense. I could analyse the source of my depression forever,” she says.
In her next decade, she recalls failing in her relationships and blamed herself for them.
“In my forties: Like millions of women in the world, I still heard voices inside my head berating me, voices questioning my value. Happiness was elusive. A reunion with old friends might make me happy. A call from a colleague might make me happy. But because sometimes I saw my failed relationships as my fault, I easily fell into despair.”
The “All for You” hitmaker is grateful that she has found the missing pieces of the puzzle and having her son, Eissa (one) in her life is a blessing.
“The height of happiness is holding my baby son in my arms and hearing him coo, or when I look into his smiling eyes and watch him respond to my tenderness. When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep.
During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere. Happiness is in gratitude to God. Happiness is saying, ?Thank you, God, for my life, my energy and my capacity to grow in love’,” Jackson writes.
She has often talked about her depression blues in the past.