Kellie Pickler is opening up publicly for the first time about the depression she suffered last year, and the severe reaction she had to the medication prescribed to help the situation.

In the upcoming issue of PEOPLE magazine, the 22-year-old singer reveals that family troubles, and a difficult breakup with her hockey player boyfriend Jordin Tootoo, led her to try anti-depressants. The pills, however, made her "crazy," she says, with side effects that eventually forced her to quit taking them.

"Everything in my professional life seemed great, but in my personal life, I was just crumbling." says Pickler, whose self-titled sophomore album, like her debut, entered the charts at No. 1.

Difficulties with both of her parents also added to the stress. Her father, a convicted felon, was released from a Florida prison a week after Kellie was eliminated in 'American Idol' in 2006. He eventually returned to jail. Her mother, who relinquished custody of Kellie at age 2, also resurfaced unexpectedly.

"I was an emotional wreck," Pickler reflects, adding that her friendships with Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood went a long way toward helping her find a balance to her life.

Pickler also credits the new man in her life, Nashville songwriter Kyle Jacobs, with boosting her self-confidence.

"He makes me feel so good about being me," she says.

Pickler's interview with PEOPLE magazine hits newsstands on Friday, October 10.

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