Depression, which affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide, doesn’t discriminate — and Michelle Williams is proof. The former Destiny’s Child star revealed this week she has been battling mental health issues since she was a teenager and that her depression peaked at the height of her career with the girl group.
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Williams maintains that at the time she didn’t even know she was suffering from depression. “I think at the age of 25, had I had a name to what I was feeling at the time, I would have disclosed that ‘I’ve been suffering from depression,’” she said while co-hosting “The Talk” on Wednesday. “I just thought it was growing pains. I just thought, ‘I’m turning into a woman.’ I’ve been suffering since the ages of between 13 and 15. At that age, I didn’t know what to call it.”
She added that those around her, including Destiny’s Child manager Matthew Knowles (Beyoncé’s father), didn’t seem to understand what she was dealing with. “I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression,” she explained. “When I disclosed it to our manager at the time, bless his heart, he was like, ‘You all just signed a multimillion-dollar deal. You’re about to go on tour. What do you have to be depressed about?’ So I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I’m just tired.’”
Her depression got “really, really bad” — to the point she was suicidal. “I was to that place where it got so dark and heavy because sometimes you feel like, ‘I’m the provider, I take care of people. I’m not supposed to be feeling this way. What do I do?’” she continued, revealing that she “wanted out” of the band.
Williams is just one of between 14 million and 16 million people in the U.S. who experience a major depressive episode every year. The condition, which is twice as common among women as it is among men, affects about one in every 10 women at some time during their lives. Long-term depression, such as Michelle’s, occurs quite frequently. After having one major episode, the chances of having another episode is about 50 percent within the following two years and can be up to 90 percent within six years.
Fortunately, Michelle seems to be on the other side of her depression, revealing, “It’s off. It’s released. I’ve released it.” She also applauded singer Demi Lovato, who recently opened up about her own struggles with depression, making a seriously on-point statement about the condition to finish up the conversation. “Depression doesn’t mean lazy. Self-harm doesn’t mean you want attention. It’s not any of that.”
If you think you or someone you know might be suffering from depression, review the eight warning signs and contact a medical professional.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you surprised by Michelle Williams’ depression confession? Can you relate? Have you ever suffered from depression?