In a new interview with Cosmopolitan UK, Jesy Nelson spoke to Felicity Hayward about leaving Little Mix in December last year, and discussed how being in the group made her lose self-confidence.

Speaking about her mental space since leaving, Nelson told Hayward, "Since I’ve left, I feel free. I don’t wakeup with anxiety, thinking, "I’ve got to do a music video today, I need to starve myself." Or, "I need to go on an extreme diet so I can look like the other three." That was consuming me."

On her decision to leave, Nelson said, "The last music video we did ["Sweet Melody"] was the breaking point. We’d been in lockdown, and [that had been] the first time I could have a break and be at home around people that I love. It was the happiest I’d ever felt, and I didn’t realise that until I went back to work. I immediately became a different person. I had anxiety. Whenever we had a music video, I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to try and lose weight. I have a fear of looking back on the camera. If I don’t like what I see, I find it so hard to be in front of the camera and feel amazing and perform."

"On the day of the "Sweet Melody" video I had a panic attack on set because I didn’t look how I wanted to look and I found it so hard to just be happy and enjoy myself," Nelson continued. "I looked at the other three and they were having the time of their life."

Nelson added, "There’s a scene in "Sweet Melody" I’m not in, because that’s when I had a panic attack and broke down. I was like,"I just want to go home." I was sobbing in the dressing room. Someone really close to me said, "This has got to stop. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. You’re going to end up where you were before"."

On whether she has plans to release solo music, Nelson said, "I’m in the studio just having fun. I loved the music I made with Little Mix, but it wasn’t the kind of music I listen to. It just feels so nice to be making music that I love. I don’t know when I’m going to bring it out. I feel really content and happy. It’s the weirdest, best feeling in the world."

Nelson also addressed people who were calling her out for going to the studio after leaving Little Mix, "I feel like there have been a few people who don’t understand why I left Little Mix, but am now in the studio making music. A lot of people said,“I thought you came out of the band to focus on your mental health?” I never said when I put out my statement that I was coming out of the band to never be in the public eye or perform again, or do music. I said I was coming out of the band because I genuinely couldn’t deal with the pressure of being in a girl band."

She added, "For people to think that I would just stop working completely is crazy, because[for] me, working on my mental health is going to the studio, and creating music that I love. That’s what clears my head and makes me happy. It’s good for my mental health. I couldn’t deal with the pressure of being in the girl group. It wasn’t that I couldn’t deal with the pressure of being in the spotlight. I was constantly compared to three other girls and that mentally drove me to a really dark place, and I couldn’t put myself through that any more."

Read the full interview with Jesy Nelson on cosmopolitan.com.