Janet Jackson Opens Up About Depression, Low Self-Esteem

Janet Jackson has opened up about her struggles with depression, which she described as a “tenacious and scary condition.”

The pop music icon covers the July/August issue of Essence magazine and, inside, shares a candid letter with readers about finding peace and contentment.

“When it comes to happiness, I'm no expert," Jackson wrote. “I have only my life experience as a guide. I've known great happiness and great sadness.”

Jackson, 52, said her battle with depression was “intense” at times.

“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,” she explained.

“Thankfully, I found my way through it.”

Jackson described having low self-esteem as a child. “I wasn't happy with the way I looked,” she admitted.

“I wish someone had said, 'You look fine. You look healthy. Being a little chubby is the least important thing in the world. Enjoy your childhood. Enjoy running and laughing and playing. Stop looking in the mirror and comparing yourself to others.’”

Jackson said being a mom to 17-month-old Eissa Al Mana is “the height of happiness.”

She shared: “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.’”