Janet Jackson comes from a very talented lineage, and it’s also just as obvious that she comes from a profoundly dysfunctional family. Her legendary brother Michael made music history, but he, of course, lived a short and deeply troubled life. Now Janet is speaking out about her struggles with depression, and how she overcame her mental struggles.
*Janet told Essence magazine that she went through a tough battle with depression when she was in her thirties. “These were difficult years,” she says. “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 through it…”
*Like her brother, Janet wasn’t happy with how she looked, and she was “happiest when I was pleasing others and not myself…Happiness came when people asked me to perform…An older and wiser Janet might have said, ‘True happiness is knowing you’re doing the best you can…’”
*She also didn’t have the best role models for good mental health and being functional. “When it comes to happiness, I’m no expert,” Jackson continues. “I have only my life experience as a guide. I’ve known great happiness and great sadness.”
*Jackson’s mental struggles didn’t end in her thirties. She adds, “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.”
*Janet now says her 17-month old son brings her happiness, and when she spends quality loving time with her child, “happiness is everywhere. Happiness is in gratitude to God…”