Selena Gomez has been vulnerable and transparent about her struggles with mental illness in recent years, admitting that it is a constant battle. However, she continues to seek help and has become a strong advocate in the world of mental health. The singer and actress recently attended an event to honor her work and delivered a moving speech to help educate and inspire others about mental illness.
Gomez was recently the guest of honor at an event held by McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. She was honored with the 2019 McLean Award for Mental Health Advocacy, an issue that is near and dear to her own heart. Gomez has battled anxiety and depression, which is something that she has been honest about in the hopes of helping others. In her acceptance speech, she admitted that being open about the issue was freeing and helped with her recovery process. “I think that we are better when we tell the truth, and so this is my truth,” Gomez began in her speech. “Last year, I was suffering mentally and emotionally, and I wasn’t able to stay all kept up and together. I wasn’t able to hold a smile or to keep things looking normal.” The singer revealed that her pain and anxiety washed over her “all at once,” and was “one of the scariest moments” of her life. “I’ve never had full answers, awareness, or anything about this condition,” she continued. “So I began to face it head-on, as my mother taught me to face my fears and challenges when I was younger. I sought out help. I actually sought out to get the help that I needed. I read a lot about it, and it was something that kind of took over and I became very passionate about it.”
During the singer’s 2016 Revival world tour, Gomez began getting overwhelmed with feelings of insecurities and self-doubt. “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,” she admitted in a past interview with Vogue. “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.” She ended up canceling her tour early and went to a psychiatric facility in Tennessee for three months. While there, she worked alongside six other girls outside of the industry, attending daily solo and group therapy sessions to help deal with all facets of her mental health. “I sought support and the doctors were able to give me a clear diagnosis,” she told the audience at the event. Gomez described the moment of diagnosis as something that left her feeling “terrified, obviously, because the veil was lifted, but relieved that I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered for so many years with depression and anxiety,” she said.
A Better Place
Though Gomez admits that her mental health is a work in progress, she has put in the work necessary to help improve the quality of her life. “I’m just fortunate enough to be able to work with some of the greatest doctors and psychiatrists and amazing people to help guide me personally through my journey,” she said in her speech. “Although this does not mean that it has all gone away, I can say that after a year of a lot of intense work that I am happier, I am healthier, and I’m in control of my emotions and thoughts more than I’ve ever been, so I’m very happy about that.” In addition to working on herself, the singer and actress to continue her advocacy work in mental health by sharing her story and working alongside different organizations to combat this issue.
Watch Gomez give her heartfelt speech below.
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