Pop star and actress Selena Gomez hasn’t been shy about sharing her mental health struggles over the years. Gomez, 30, spent most of her teens and twenties squarely in the public eye, which can understandably take a toll.
For Gomez, her admission to mental health issues began in 2014 when she sought treatment for anxiety and depression stemming from a lupus diagnosis. In the years since, her treatment (in her own words) has become more open-ended and less focused on curbing a specific problem.
The shift in perspective — that mental health is a daily process of maintenance rather than a one-time treatment — gave Gomez a lot of clarity when she was ultimately diagnosed as bipolar in 2020. “It doesn’t scare me once I know it,” she told fellow pop performer and child star Miley Cyrus in an episode of the latter’s “Bright Minded” Instagram series. “I think people get scared of that, right?”
In October 2020, she hosted a discussion with Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Biden’s surgeon general, to discuss the feelings of loneliness she (and many) experienced during lockdowns.
“In the beginning I couldn’t deal with it that well,” she said, discussing the early months of quarantine. “But then I started going into a place where I as writing and being active; it forced me to have that time. I’ve been able to spend time with those quality people a lot more than I ever have, and I’m spending a lot more time with my family.”
Selena Gomez credits the right medication and tons of support from family and friends as the secret to improving her mental health
That feeling of loneliness also follows Gomez while on tour, she has previously admitted. In 2017, she told Vogue that her anxiety had gotten so bad that she would have panic attacks before going on stage.
“My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting on stage, or right after leaving the stage. Basically I felt I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t capable,” she revealed. “I felt I wasn’t giving my fans anything, and they could see it—which, I think, was a complete distortion. I was so used to performing for kids.”
“At concerts I used to make the entire crowd raise up their pinkies and make a pinky promise never to allow anybody to make them feel that they weren’t good enough. Suddenly I have kids smoking and drinking at my shows, people in their 20s, 30s, and I’m looking into their eyes, and I don’t know what to say. I couldn’t say, ‘Everybody, let’s pinky-promise that you’re beautiful!’” Gomez continued. “It doesn’t work that way, and I know it because I’m dealing with the same shit they’re dealing with. What I wanted to say is that life is so stressful, and I get the desire to just escape it. But I wasn’t figuring my own stuff out, so I felt I had no wisdom to share.”
Earlier this month, Gomez discussed her mental and physical health struggles in the trailer for her Apple TV+ documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, due out in November.
“[I’m] happier, and I’m more in control of my emotions and thoughts more than I have ever been,” adding that her “connection” with friends and family is her secret for coping with mental illness.