When X Factor finalist Lauren Murray revealed she takes anti-depressants it would have been easy to brush it off as just another sob story.

But the 26-year-old north Londoner says she has spoken out about her problems to show how singing helped saved her and that mental health issues don't have to stop you follow your dreams.

The bubbly brunette, who was back home last week to visit her family and former workplace The Balcombe Dental Practice in Mill Hill, says she was painfully shy as a child: "I used to sit on the bench and have no friends, I was such a different person.

"My mum knew she needed to do something to give me confidence so she started taking me to this little singing school in Highgate called Stagecoach when I was eight and they told her I could really sing."

These days Lauren is a straight talking young woman who says he mum is 'tone deaf' when asked if her gift runs in the family and adds: "I feel like god gave singing to me for my release."

We caught up with her on Monday, the day before she was put on complete voice rest, and found out the truth about those rumours she had quit the contestant's house.

"I get really homesick, especially with my mum. I like being at home with my things and my bed and I like to keep an eye on my mum so if I’m away for too long I get panicky.

"All the paper's saying I had left the house- it's not a jail. If the schedule allows it we are allowed to leave."

Lauren enjoyed being back home on the Cricklewood Estate but admits she did have a tough upbringing there. Her mum suffers from borderline schizophrenia and was in and out of hospital and her dad died suddenly from a heart attack when Lauren was 11, shortly after being released from prison.

Lauren says her life just fell apart after that and aged 13 she went to live at The Northgate Clinic, a centre in Edgware for teenagers with mental health problems, for three years.

"I gave up on everything. I was just really lost. But everyone goes through bad times but it’s how you come out the other side.

"That’s another reason I wanted to do this to show," explains the former pupil of St Agnes RC Primary School, "to show other people that have maybe been through similar things that you can do something with yourself, I did. I’m just normal, from a council estate in Cricklewood and I just went for it.

"I couldn’t see a way forward but singing helped me forget all that. I just want to encourage people to go for it. You have only got one life."

Lauren says it all turned around for her when she discovered her singing teacher Elysha West in Colindale

"As soon as we met we just clicked and to this day she has been my guardian angel. Without her I don’t think I would be doing this tight now because she was the one who gave me that push and just saw something in me.

"It has still taken time, ten years I have been working towards it, and had to go through all this s**t past and *s**t places and no one listening to me singing and thinking I was wasting my time. You just have to be so determined that you are going to do it."

The former dental receptionist was back at the contestant's house when we spoke but had the 'best day' in Cricklewood last week seeing mum Debbie, sister Ashleigh, boss Dr Charles Balcombe and meeting her amazing supporters. Her dream is to one day give back to the area by opening a school for troubled young people.

She is also 'over the moon' after her track One Last Time went top 10 in the iTunes chart and she can't wait for this weekend's show.

"I think the theme is something to do with love so that will be a good one.

"I never in a million years expected to get this far so now I’m on the tour I’m so proud of myself whatever happens."

Nerves almost got the better of her early in the competition but Lauren says she is learning to cope with the whirlwind of rehearsing, interviews photoshoots and performing and hanging out with the world famous judges.

"We do get tired and stressed but it will all be worth it in the end."

She adds: "Even for Simon Cowell to know my name is crazy. He is amazing. I think the whole bad guy thing is for TV as every time I see him he is so lovely, really nice geezer. He’s honest and everyone has to respect that he knows what he is doing.

"Rita, we adore her, she has been so helpful giving us advice and tips."

Lauren says she has the confidence to win X Factor now but it is in the hands of the public.

"To be honest I really hope Che wins because he is amazing and we are like brother and sister now and he really wants it. Obviously I want to win as well but if I don’t I want him to."

She tries not to look at what is being written about her and 'be blind' to any negativity but she isn't afraid to be honest about her personal life.

"I didn’t want to talk about it in the auditions because I didn’t want it to be a sob story and I wanted to get through because I’m good enough. Now I’ve gone further I want to get it out in the open so I can say it in my own words.

"My passed has always held me back for a long long time but now I feel ready."

X Factor is shown on ITV on Saturday.