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Kelly Clarkson Just Got Real About Her Depression And What Helped Her Cope

by Erin Canty

October 24, 2017
Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Music Business Association.

Kelly Clarkson is best known for her soulful vocal chops and hit singles, but behind the scenes, the pop star has fought for her life.

In a recent interview with Attitude magazine, Clarkson revealed she battled depression and suicidal thoughts during the early years of her career. She was in such a dark place that she began to lose weight. Sadly, her new look led people to believe she was doing well, even thriving.

"When I was really skinny and unhappy, I wanted to kill myself. I was miserable, like inside and out, for four years of my life. But no one cares because aesthetically you make sense."
Host Carson Daly, Kelly Clarkson, and Justin Guarini pose at the MTV Beach House in 2003. Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images.

Clarkson sought extreme measures to make herself feel better, even literally running away from the real problem.

"I like wrecked my knees and my feet during those four years because all I would do is put in headphones and run. I was in the gym all the time. Before my show, and any time probably, because it was the one time no one was talking to me and it was the one time there was no bullshit going on. It was just me listening to music and checking out."

The number on the scale has nothing to do with with someone's value as a person, but celebrity or not, it's easy to equate weight with happiness or success.

Though Clarkson was suffering, her weight loss was celebrated, making it difficult to get better. But when it comes to depression and suicidal thoughts, there is always hope. Clarkson found it with the help of her close family and friends.

An “aha” moment occurred when Clarkson let go of the negative people in her life and others trying to bring her down.

She realized that pleasing everyone left little room to do right by herself. Before she could ever hope to get better, Clarkson had to stop people-pleasing and start trusting her instincts about what was right for her heart and career (emphasis added):

“I just slowly started going: ‘You’re not good for me, I can’t save you and I’m drowning because I’m trying to help you.’ It was really that moment of trying to be all things to all people and it’s like, ‘I can’t.’ I was around some really negative people and I got out of it because I also had a lot of great people there. So, it was more a case of turning around and facing them, and walking towards that light.”

If you or someone you love has depression or suicidal thoughts, it's imperative to get help and support from people and professionals you trust.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for DCP.

Depression can feel all-encompassing and scary. It's easy to lose yourself in the disease, no longer finding joy in the things you love, or feeling irritable, sad, or anxious. You may gain or lose weight, sleep a lot or have trouble sleeping. It's a complicated mental illness, but there are ways to feel better and find relief.

If you or someone you love has suicidal thoughts, reach out to your local or national crisis line at 800-273-8255. It's available any time, day or night.

Because celebrity or not: You are enough. You are worthy of love, and you are not alone. 

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Citi.

Top image and share image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Music Business Association.

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