Janet Jackson Talks Overcoming “Intense” Struggle With Depression In Her 30s
Janet Jackson is not only the headliner for this year’s EssenceFest, she’s also the cover star for the mag’s July/August issue and inside the entertainer is telling some painful truths about her past.
While, at 52, Janet said, “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,” in her thirties and forties joy was much harder to come by.
In a very personal letter to her fans, Janet said of her thirties, “These were difficult years, when I struggled with depression. The struggle was intense. I could analyze the source of my depression forever. 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 way through it…”
Ten years later, things hadn’t gotten much better, she shared.
“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.”
Now, however, the icon said “happiness is everywhere” when she’s with her 2-year-old son Eissa. “Happiness is in gratitude to God. Happiness is saying, ‘Thank you, God, for my life, my energy and my capacity to grow in love.’ ”
Janet’s letter appears in the July/August issue of ESSENCE which hits newsstands Friday.