X Factor Gary Barlow talks of depression and lack of self-esteem

Gary Barlow talks of depression and lack of self-esteem

By Liz Lockhart

During the last 24 hours, the media have been very quick to pick up on an interview Gary Barlow did with The Observer, that revealed he suffered from a lengthy and dark period of depression after Take That’s split.

‘I was living in Cheshire at the time, going to London and back on the train.  I used to heavily disguise myself, with a hat and everything.  I was overweight, I wasn’t feeling great.  I was embarrassed to be me, to have people recognise me,’ the award-winning singer said in the interview with Observer Magazine.

In that same interview Gary said that he became so full of 'self-loathing' that he began to over-eat, piling on five stone. 

Gary certainly is not alone in how he felt. His feelings are mirrored by thousands of people around the globe that find themselves unemployed. Eisenburg notes in a study of 'the psychological effects of unemployment' that 'unemployment leads to increased instability in the unemployed and lowers their morale.'

Now let us consider that Gary's 'job' and life played out under the watchful gaze of millions and was scrutinised by the media.

In every economic slump we see a rise in depression and anxiety statistics, due to people losing their jobs, having more concerns over security and going through major life changes. The pressure Gary must have felt would have been intensified by the spotlight being upon him at this difficult time.

He then added ‘It wasn’t not being famous any more, or even not being a recording artist.  It was having nobody who needed me, no phones ringing, nothing to do.’

‘It was all a bit of a torment.  I had this beautiful while piano, my lucky piano.  Every hit I’d had I’d written on this piano.  Within six months of this not happening any more, this piano drove me mad.

‘To the point where I spent days just looking at it, lying underneath it, lying on top of it, rubbing my face on it, going slowly insane, trying to work out why this thing wasn’t delivering to me like it used to.’

Gary, 40, has been married to his wife Dawn for 15 years.  His band, Take That, reformed in 2006 and currently he is enjoying a life as a judge and mentor on The X Factor.  It was the reformation of the band that make Gary feel ‘valid again’.  He says ‘That day was the first time in years that I got on a train, took my hat off and just sat there.  People were coming up and being so nice.  It felt so good.’

The public 'battle' between Gary and former bandmate Robbie Williams also rubbed salt in the wound for Barlow, he admits taking himself away to recover. However this tryst seems completely behind the pair now, and fans would have viewed in delight as Williams was seen alongside Barlow in the ‘judge’s house’ stage of The X Factor. 

Barlow’s popularity seems to have reached new heights since joining the show. Viewers are reported to be commenting that he is a perfect replacement for Simon Cowell. Gary commented ‘I know it’s not going to last forever but I’m in a great place.’

Gary obviously feels that having been through a period of depression has helped to form the man that he is today.  He says ‘When I look back on my down years, I think, Thank God that happened.  What character would I be now if it had all been smooth and brilliant?’

Well Gary….judging by your next statement I would not like to answer that question!

Gary says ‘It’s a cliché but you’ve got to enjoy life.  I’ve got this attitude with people now.  If you’re miserable – go home – don’t stay here – don’t ruin my day.’

I only hope that others were kinder to him when he was going through his depression. Goodness only knows what Mr. Barlow’s attitude would have been prior to his new found understanding?

Anyway we do hope that Gary has come through the period and has worked on finding his self-esteem not just through his career, but through all aspects of his life.

Picture: Official © ITV / SYCO / TALKBACK THAMES

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