Earlier in the year, Michelle Williams announced she was proudly seeking treatment from health-care professionals for her mental health. Her Instagram post received an outpouring of support, but it didn’t really get into the details of what she was experiencing.
This week, in a new interview with People, the singer opened up about the circumstances that led her to check into a treatment facility in July, which she believes was the best decision she could’ve possibly made.
“I thought I was over depression,” Williams told People.
“I thought, I’m good! I’ve got love, I’m working out,” said Williams, who had gotten engaged to boyfriend Chad Johnson, a pastor, only a few weeks before the episode she describes. “But I was so angry. The rage built up in me. I did not attempt suicide, but I was questioning [life].”
The catalyst for this depression, she said, wasn’t one particular thing: She was busy planning her summer wedding and was also in a stressful rehearsal environment with fellow Destiny’s Child alumni Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland to prepare for their Coachella performance.
It was after the Coachella gig that Williams said she reached her breaking point. “The entire year we were rehearsing every day for hours,” she recalled. “I was burying it, and before you knew it, I was looking up out of the pit like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I’d been there before in that darkness. I was like ‘No, you better go [to the hospital].’ By the time I got there, I was stable.”
For the past year, Williams has made a point of documenting the highs and lows of her mental health struggles. In late 2017, she spoke for the first time about the depression and suicidal thoughts she experienced during her time in Destiny’s Child.
Now out of treatment, Williams said she believes she’s in a healthy place mentally.
And her relationship with Johnson, she added, has never been stronger.
“People fall off the fitness wagon, people fall off the wellness wagon, but I can’t fall off the [therapy] wagon,” Williams said. “I have to get healed to live this happy life,” she continued. “It’s not just about marrying Chad. I finally found someone to do life with.”
Depression is a mood disorder that can come and go in episodes.
There are several different forms of depression (like dysthymia, postpartum depression, or seasonal affective disorder), but the major depressive disorder is typically the form that most people are familiar with.
Symptoms of a major depressive disorder can include a persistent sad or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, decreased energy, and changes in sleep, appetite, or interests. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, having several persistent symptoms as well as a depressed mood can signal a depressive episode. But it’s important to know that the length, severity, and combination of symptoms can vary from person to person.
Experiencing a depressive episode once does mean that you could have one again, so it’s important to talk to your support system and your health-care team about any new symptoms.