Jesy Nelson is opening up about a dark time in her life, one which nearly led to her untimely death.
In her new BBC Three documentary, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, the singer — who won The X Factor in 2011 as part of the U.K. girl band Little Mix — revealed she tried to commit suicide following a horrific battle with depression.
Speaking of the documentary and of her life in the spotlight, Nelson, 28, told The Guardian that the night she and her three bandmates won the popular music show was “the worst day of my life.”
“I should have been on cloud nine,” she reflected, adding that unfortunately, as soon as she looked at the comments fans left on the YouTube video of their final performance, she was crushed.
“I was very naive,” said the singer. “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?’”
After that, she spiraled into a pit of self-hatred, constantly checking the internet for more negative comments about herself.
“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 said. “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 succeeded, fans’ bullying of her only grew. Insecure about her weight, Nelson began starving herself, and in order to keep working, she took antidepressants.
“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 didn’t realize she had an eating disorder, but she did notice she was shedding weight. This, she hoped, would stop the bullying. But of course, it did not.
In 2013, Little Mix returned to The X Factor stage for a guest performance. And as soon as the video of their show was up on the internet, the negative comments came in like a wave of hate. Nelson says seeing this made her “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 BBC.
It was then that the singer lost her will to live and ultimately tried to take her own life.
“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,” she recalled. “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.’ “
BBC reported that she was taken to the hospital but left without any physical complications from her attempted suicide.
Now, Nelson is content with herself and urging other young women with mental health issues to seek help.
“Now I’m like, happy. I know it sounds bad but I honestly didn’t know what it felt like to be happy,” she said in an interview with 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.