National Recovery Month: Selena Gomez is a firm advocate of dialectical behavior therapy for mental health issues

In the past, she canceled tour dates twice, because she felt like she wasn't good enough for her fans and then went on to check herself into a facility to get better


                            National Recovery Month: Selena Gomez is a firm advocate of dialectical behavior therapy for mental health issues
(Getty Images)

Selena Gomez just launched her makeup line Rare Beauty and dropped a number of inclusive beauty products (48 shades of foundations and concealers) which has received a lot of appreciation within the makeup community and general customers alike. She has an impressive number of hits in her music career and was once the highest followed account on Instagram and her Netflix show '13 Reasons Why' received critical acclaim. From the outside, it does seem like her life has been rosy but she struggled internally with anxiety, depression, and deteriorating mental health.

In the past, she canceled tour dates twice, because she felt like she wasn't good enough for her fans and then went on to check herself into a facility to get better. Currently, we are in one of the worst phases with the coronavirus pandemic still very much affecting the way we lead our lives and more so for people who struggle with mental disorders and Selena too hasn't been immune to it. September is National Recovery Month and the gains of people in recovery from substance use and mental disorders are celebrated and it would only be fitting to mention and honor Selena's journey. 

In April this year, she was a guest on Miley Cyrus's talk show 'Bright Minded' where she revealed she was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "You know, I had gone to treatment a few times for anxiety and for depression, and for other stuff that I had been struggling with," Selena said. "Recently, I went to one of the best mental hospitals in America — McLean Hospital — and I discussed that, after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar," she added, according to Insider.

In 2017, she had spoken to Vogue about her struggle with depression and panic attacks as well as anxiety. A year before that she had canceled a significant number of shows on her Revival World Tour. Revealing the reason for it, she told the outlet, "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."

This was not all troubling Selena as other medical conditions also affected her mental health greatly. In January 2014, she spent time at a treatment center after being diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that can cause skin rash, achy or swollen joints, fatigue, hair loss, and other symptoms. She has since gotten treatment for lupus. Then in 2018 she was in treatment for anxiety and depression, a year after her kidney transplant as a result of her battle with lupus. Hearing her diagnosis made her feel "equal parts terrified and relieved," she said. 

She turned to therapy and her family for support to cope with these issues. “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," she told the outlet. She also had given up on Instagram because becoming the most-followed person had "freaked" her out. “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.” The singer says she spent 90 days in the treatment center in Tennessee, where she took part in individual therapy, group therapy and equine therapy, which uses horses to help treat mental health conditions.

She is also a huge advocate of Dialectical Behavior Therapy because it changed her life completely. It's a technique developed to treat borderline personality disorder that is now used more broadly, with its emphasis on improving communication, regulating emotions and incorporating mindfulness practices to help change negative behaviors. “I have this dream of mine that’s beyond all of this where I think that personally, it should be required in schools to be taught dialectical behavior therapy," she recommended Zane Lowe in an interview. 

September 2020 marks the 31st year of National Recovery Month and with this column, we aim to tell the share the experiences of public figures and celebrities with mental disorders, with an aim to raise awareness and normalize asking for help.

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