Singer, actor, former Disney child star and current most-followed person on Instagram Selena Gomez has opened up about mental illness and how she manages it in a new interview with Vogue.
The star has spoken in the past about being diagnosed with lupus – an immune system illness of which depression is a common symptom – and has twice cancelled tours to enter treatment (in 2014 and 2016).
“Tours are a really lonely place for me,” she said, explaining why she nixed her 2016 ‘Revival‘ tour early. “My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after leaving the stage. Basically I felt I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t capable. I felt I wasn’t giving my fans anything, and they could see it—which, I think, was a complete distortion. ”
Last year, she checked herself into a 90 day treatment program in Tennessee, which she told Vogue included individual therapy, group therapy, and even equine therapy (sign me the fuck up).
“You have no idea how incredible it felt to just be with six girls,” she said, “real people who couldn’t give two shits about who I was, who were fighting for their lives. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was the best thing I’ve done.”
She says that these days, she manages her mental health by seeing a therapist five days a week, stepping away from social media (her assistant has her Instagram password) and spending time with a small, select group of people (“I think about seventeen people have my phone number right now. Maybe two are famous“).
She might have 113 million followers on Instagram, but she says she sometimes fantasises about disappearing from social media altogether (and even ends the interview by saying she *knows* it’s weird, but she “really can’t wait for people to forget about me”).
“As soon as I became the most followed person on Instagram, I sort of freaked out,” she said. “It had become so consuming to me. It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to. I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about. I always end up feeling like shit when I look at Instagram. Which is why I’m kind of under the radar, ghosting it a bit.”
She’s also become a passionate advocate for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), a technique developed to treat borderline personality disorder but is now used much more wildly.
“DBT has completely changed my life,” she said. “I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.”
Selena shouts-out writer Rob Haskell for the piece (on – where else? – Instagram), but… look. It’s a bit weird, and ever-so-slightly reminiscent of Vanity Fair‘s half-chubbed profile on Margot Robbie.
For example, this sentence, describing a moment when Selena and Robb are cooking a dinner of enchiladas and cheesy potatoes.
“As I slip an apron over her mane of chocolate-brown hair, for which Pantene has paid her millions, and tie it around her tiny waist, I wonder whether her legions have felt for years the same sharp pang of protectiveness that I’m feeling at present.”
Or this really-not-all-that-necessary reference to Woody Allen and Soon-Yin Previn:
“Gomez traces her shift toward the unfiltered back to a song she released in 2014 called ‘The Heart Wants What It Wants,’ a ballad about loving a guy she knows is bad news. The title derives from a letter written by Emily Dickinson, though Woody Allen reintroduced the phrase when he used it to describe his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn.”
Have a read of the full thing here and decide for yourself.
Photo: Selena Gomez / Instagram.
If you or someone you know is dealing with mental illness, call BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636.