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Janet Jackson has penned an open letter about her “intense” battle with depression in her thirties. In the July/August issue of Essence magazine, Janet spoke on her childhood, saying, “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.” She then said that the “happiness” she experienced as a teen came when people asked her to perform, but she was “happiest” when she was “pleasing others,” not herself.

On her thirties, which were her difficult years, Janet said, “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.”

She continued, “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.”

  • At 52-years-old, 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. 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.’”
  • On another note, Janet is set to headline the Essence Festival on July 8th before kicking off the rest of her “State of the World Tour.”
  • Janet’s issue of Essence hits newsstands on June 22nd.