Janet Jackson Talks Her Battle With Depression: ‘The Struggle Was Intense’

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Janet Jackson is speaking out.

The 52-year-old pop icon pens a letter to her fans in the new issue of Essence magazine, which was shared on Wednesday’s Good Morning America, about her journey and the lessons she has learned over the course of her life.

“I struggled with depression. The struggle was intense,” Jackson writes about her thirties. “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.”

Jackson went on to say in the present day it's the love of her 1-year-old son, Eissa Al Mana, that brings her so much joy.

Janet Jackson Essence
WARWICK SAINT/ESSENCE

“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,” she writes of her little boy. “When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep. During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere.”

Also in the Essence letter, Jackson writes about the #MeToo movement and female empowerment. “We are living at a time in history when women all over the world are refusing to be controlled, manipulated, exploited or abused,” she declares. “We have found our strength, and we will not relent.”

Janet Jackson Essence
WARWICK SAINT/ESSENCE

When Jackson reflected on her early years as a child she said, "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…”

As for her teens, the star wrote,"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…’”

Jackson did not touch on her current ongoing custody battle with her ex, Wissam Al Mana.

For more from Jackson, watch the clip below:

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