Selena Gomez is speaking out about having bipolar and how the diagnosis empowers her instead of holding her back.
The “Rare” singer, who’s previously discussed her experiences with anxiety and depression, talked about mental health during a particularly candid moment on Miley Cyrus’ Instagram Live talk show, “Bright Minded.”
Cyrus has been welcoming celebrities, including fellow former Disney Channel stars Demi Lovato and Hilary Duff, on her makeshift talk show amid the coronavirus pandemic, but her conversation with Gomez was her most revealing yet.
When asked about why so many people are “afraid to talk about mental health,” Gomez lead by example and discussed her own struggles like never before.
“After years of going through a lot of different things, I realised that I was bipolar and so when I go to know more information, it actually helps me,” she told Cyrus. “It doesn’t scare me once I know it. I think people get scared of that, right?”
Gomez credited McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, for helping her come to the realisation, describing the institution as the “one of the best mental health hospitals” in the country.
In 2019, the hospital honoured Gomez with the McLean Award, recognising her as someone who’s “furthered the public’s understanding of psychiatric illness and mental health.”
Gomez also revealed to Cyrus that she suspects others in her own family share her condition, which is marked by episodes of depression and hypomania.
“I’ve seen it and I’ve seen some of it even in my own family where I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ I’m from Texas and it’s not known to talk about your mental health,” she said, adding that stigma weighs especially heavy on young people who think they’ve “got to seem cool” above everything else.
Gomez went on to explain that she sought out the advice of medical professionals because being informed “took the fear away.”
“When I finally said what I was gonna say, I wanted to know everything about it and it took the fear away,” the 27-year-old said. “When I was younger, I was scared of thunderstorms and my mom bought me all these different books on thunderstorms, [saying], ‘The more that you educate yourself on this, the more that you’re not gonna be afraid.’ And it completely worked.”
Gomez has been plagued by health-related setbacks since 2016, when she first took an extended career break to address depression and anxiety, which stemmed from her lupus diagnosis a few years prior.
She most recently sought treatment for an emotional breakdown in 2018 after being hospitalised multiple times following her kidney transplant — which was made possible by her friend Francia Raisa a year before.
Gomez is among a host of other celebrities who have spoken up about mental health and bipolar disorder diagnoses in recent months, including Mariah Carey, Demi Lovato and Halsey.
Find resources and learn more about bipolar disorder here.