Jay Pharoah’s incredible impressions ;made him a star on “Saturday Night Live” and in comedy clubs around the country, but the comedian told HuffPost Live that he was in a “constant state of depression” for years before he found the confidence that came with stand-up. ; Pharoah told host Marc Lamont Hill that he was “massively overweight” when he was younger, which led to a miserable experience with peers who made fun of him. One of the things that got him through the pain was his bond with his mother. ; “She was like one of the only people that really knew about it. … At the time, when I was massively depressed like that, where I really didn’t want my life anymore, I …

Jay Pharoah’s incredible impressions ;made him a star on “Saturday Night Live” and in comedy clubs around the country, but the comedian told HuffPost Live that he was in a “constant state of depression” for years before he found the confidence that came with stand-up. ;

Pharoah told host Marc Lamont Hill that he was “massively overweight” when he was younger, which led to a miserable experience with peers who made fun of him. One of the things that got him through the pain was his bond with his mother. ;

“She was like one of the only people that really knew about it. … At the time, when I was massively depressed like that, where I really didn’t want my life anymore, I was 12,” Pharoah said. “And I remember [my mom] came in and she stopped me from doing some stuff. It was crazy.”

Pharoah said he never saw a therapist because he knew his problem was his weight, and he felt it was something he could control. ;He eventually got to a healthy weight and along with the weight loss came an introduction to performing live comedy. In that, Pharoah said he found something significant.

“When I got to the stage, it was like a release, you know what I mean? Because it was like, ‘Oh, people like me. People like me. They’re listening to what I have to say. They’re not judging me on how I look, they’re judging me on what I’m saying.’ So to me, that’s what’s worth it, and that’s what comedians have,” he said.

Through his journey, the comedian also learned to cultivate self-compassion.

“I feel like I appreciate and love myself a lot more than I used to,” Pharoah said. “At one point I would look in the mirror I just hated what I saw … and finally, when I was 17, I built some confidence and now I try to keep that confidence going.”

Watch Pharoah open up about his depression in the video above, and check out the full conversation on HuffPost Live ;about his new comedy special, “Jay Pharoah: Can I Be Me?,” which airs August 1 on Showtime.

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Jay Pharoah Opens Up About His Painful Battle With Depression