Janet Jackson has opened up about her ''intense'' battle with depression.

The 52-year-old singer believes her problems are partly due to feeling ''inferior'' as a child, while also coming up against racism and sexism but she's grateful she fought her way back from the mood disorder.

She wrote in the new issue of Essence magazine: ''I struggled with depression. The struggle was intense.

''Low self-esteem might be rooted in childhood feelings of inferiority. It could relate to failing to meet impossibly high standards. And of course there are always the societal issues of racism and sexism. Put it all together and depression is a tenacious and scary condition. Thankfully, I found my way through it.''

Even in her forties, Janet struggled to stop herself from falling into despair.

She wrote: ''In my forties: Like millions of women in the world, I still heard voices inside my head berating me, voices questioning my value.

''Happiness was elusive. A reunion with old friends might make me happy. A call from a colleague might make me happy. But because sometimes I saw my failed relationships as my fault, I easily fell into despair.''

But the 'Together Again' singer also spoke touchingly of finding happiness thanks to her son Eissa, 16 months, who she has with estranged husband Wissam Al Mana.

She said: ''The height of happiness is holding my baby son in my arms and hearing him coo, or when I look into his smiling eyes and watch him respond to my tenderness.

''When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep. During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere.

''Happiness is in gratitude to God. Happiness is saying, 'Thank you, God, for my life, my energy and my capacity to grow in love.' ''