The 28-year-old singer opens up about her depression and attempted overdose in her new upcoming documentary, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out
Jesy Nelson is opening up about her battle with mental health and her attempted suicide after being a target for online bullying.
In her new BBC Three documentary, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, the singer opens up to fans about her downward spiral following her sudden rise to fame after winning The X Factor in 2011 as a part of the four-member British girl band, Little Mix.
Speaking to The Guardian on Sunday about her new documentary, she recalls the day they won as “the worst day of my life.”
“I should have been on cloud nine,” Nelson told the outlet. However, the relentless online bullying had already begun before the girl band even won the popular televised competition.
During an episode of The X Factor ahead of the finale, the band performed a cover of Nicki Minaj‘s hit “Super Bass,” and when they gathered to watch their performance on YouTube, Nelson was shocked to see the things people were saying about her online.
“I was very naive,” she told The Guardian. “I thought it would be people giving their opinion on our performance. But nearly every comment was about the way I looked: ‘She’s a fat ugly rat’; ‘How has she got in this girl group?’; ‘How is the fat one in this?’ “
She began to obsessively read every negative comment made about her online.
“I had a routine of waking up, going on Twitter, searching for the worst things I could about myself. I’d type in the search bar: ‘Jesy fat,’ or ‘Jesy ugly,’ and see what would come up,” she told the outlet. “Sometimes I didn’t even need to do that, I’d just write ‘Jesy’ and then I’d see all the horrible things. Everyone told me to ignore it — but it was like an addiction.”
As the band’s popularity increased, so did the bullying and horrible comments, according to The Guardian. Nelson told the outlet she became depressed, refusing to take antidepressants and starving herself to lose weight.
“I’d starve myself … I’d drink Diet Coke for a solid four days and then, when I felt a bit dizzy, I’d eat a pack of ham because I knew it had no calories,” she told The Guardian. “Then I’d binge eat, then hate myself.”
Nelson said she didn’t recognize that she had an eating disorder, even as she dropped weight. When the band returned to The X Factor for a guest performance in 2013, she hoped her new figure would make the bullying stop, but the negative comments continued. After that, Nelson became “severely depressed.”
“I was sat in bed crying, thinking, ‘This is never going to go, I’m going to feel sad for the rest of my life, so what is the point in being here?’ ” she told the BBC.
“The only way I can describe the pain is like constantly being heartbroken. I remember going to the kitchen and I just took as many tablets as I could,” Nelson recalled of attempting suicide. “Then my ex, who was with me at the time, he woke up and was like, ‘Why are you crying?’ I kept saying, ‘I just want to die.’ “
According to the BBC, she was taken to the hospital and wasn’t left with any complications from the attempted overdose. Now, the 28-year-old singer is hoping that by sharing her story she will be able to help other young women and girls struggling with mental health.
“There must be so many women and girls that feel not good in themselves and are struggling with mental illness, and I thought if I’ve overcome it, I want people to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” she told Emily Atack, on the U.K.’s Lorraine Monday morning. “For me, at that point, I really honestly felt like there wasn’t and if you’d have told me four years ago that I’d be sat here talking about it feeling stronger than ever I would never have believed you.”
And Nelson says she’s doing better than ever.
“Now I’m like, happy. I know it sounds bad but I honestly didn’t know what it felt like to be happy,” she explained on Lorraine. “Don’t get me wrong I still get quite horrible comments but I just … mentally I know how I feel about myself and that’s the biggest thing that I have overcome — that feeling in myself and feeling happy but that’s all because I got help and I spoke about it.”
Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out will premiere on Sept. 12 on BBC.
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.
If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.