"I was struggling to get out of bed and I was very tearful," the singer said. "My mum was really worried, so when I got home I went to see my doctor, who diagnosed me with depression. It was such a relief because I knew that I could get treatment for it." Mel was prescribed the anti-depressant Prozac and started receiving counseling, as well as alternative therapies such as acupuncture to help her cope with her disease.
Chisholm cited the pressures of fame and life in the spotlight with her world-famous girl group as part of the problem. "When I was in the Spice Girls, the stress of suddenly being thrust into the limelight led me into an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise," she said, recalling her eating disorder. "I became obsessed about what I ate and I cut lots of food groups -- like carbs and protein -- out of my diet. I survived on fruit and vegetables and little else."
Mel also pointed out that while she suffered from anorexia, she never turned to bulimia. "It's true I had an eating disorder but I didn't purge myself so it never became bulimia, which has been reported," she clarified. "Surviving on a few hours of sleep while on tour, not eating properly and depriving my body of essential nutrients sent me into this awful depression. After years of living on adrenaline, my body was so out of balance I came crashing down."
Now 38 and on the road to recovery, Mel C credits the birth of her daughter Scarlet in February 2009 for helping turn her life around. She was already starting to get healthy before becoming pregnant with her now-3-year-old girl, but feared motherhood might derail her. "I took anti-depressants for 18 months and it was a very gradual road to recovery. After a couple of years, things started to improve. I was eating properly and felt less gloomy," she explained, adding, "If you've had depression in the past, you're more prone to it again."
Luckily, motherhood became the very thing that saved Melanie from relapsing back into that dark place. "If anything, being pregnant and having a baby gave me a fresh start and if there was any tiny hangover of a bad relationship with food, it disappeared. It was the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle," she explained. "I had to be healthy and from the moment I knew I was pregnant, I wanted to give Scarlet the nutrition she needed to grow fit, strong and healthy. I started to feel so comfortable around food ... I found it liberating."
Chisholm went on to explain the effects that pregnancy and motherhood have had on her relationship with her body. "What I have learned is that our bodies are such incredible machines and if one thing is wrong then something else will over-compensate. Having Scarlet has given me the confidence to say I'm totally cured of any depression or eating disorder and I can't tell you how great that makes me feel."
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