Michelle Williams knows from personal experience that happier days are always waiting around the corner.
The former Destiny’s Child star, 38, has faced a difficult stretch in recent months, splitting from fiancé Chad Johnson in December after a brief engagement.
In a new interview with Essence, Williams, who has battled depression since she was 13 years old, revealed the break-up left her shattered and, just as she did while in Destiny’s Child, fighting suicidal thoughts.
“I was weak, very depressed and thinking it was the end of my life,” she told the outlet. “If someone had asked me where I would be today, I didn’t think I would be alive, because I was so broken.”
She continued, “It felt as though I had failed publicly and privately, too, and that was just not like me. And I was like, God, there’s got to be more.”
Williams and Johnson, a pastor, were engaged in March 2018, though the star told PEOPLE in October she fell into a deep depression as she began planning their wedding. She eventually sought mental health treatment in July.
“I thought I was over depression. I thought, ‘I’m good!’ I’ve got love, I’m working out,” she told PEOPLE. “But I was so angry. The rage built up in me. I did not attempt suicide, but I was questioning [life].”
The singer suffered another blow in December, when she was forced to step down from the Broadway production of Once on This Island on doctor’s orders. She revealed to Essence that she suffered a “nervous breakdown” shortly after opening day.
Williams told the outlet that in the months since calling off her engagement and leaving the Great White Way behind, she’s been feeling better, with March and April of 2019 having been exceptionally positive months.
“I am in a better place now. I am not perfect. I’m not preaching. I’m just telling you what I’m doing right now – I’m sticking to my routine,” she said. “When people say it gets better, it does. It just takes time. The days do get brighter.”
As for advice, Williams encouraged others dealing with similar thoughts to lean into their pain instead of trying to shut it off.
“But then tell yourself you’ve got to get up,” she said. “Because some people won’t tell you to get up or know what to say. I pray you find that inner strength to say, ‘Okay, I’ve been down. I’ve been in this bed too long. I’ve got to get up.’ That’s what I did.”
Williams has long been open about her battle with depression, and in October 2017, revealed that she’d suffered suicidal thoughts while in Destiny’s Child.
“I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression,” she said on The Talk. “When I disclosed it to our manager [Mathew Knowles] at the time, bless his heart, he was like, ‘You all just signed a multi-million 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,’” Williams continued, adding her depression worsened “to the point where I was suicidal … and wanted out.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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