Selena Gomez Turns ‘Forever’ Mental Health Struggles Into ‘Fun’ on Comeback Record
Pop star feels "great" after anxiety and depression forced her to withdraw from spotlight, but she also acknowledges it's a lifetime struggle
January 28, 2020
“This is just what the doctor ordered / put a gold star on my disorder,” sings Selena Gomez at the start of “Fun,” one of the tracks off of her comeback record, after a four-year musical hiatus and a total break from her career in 2018 to face mental health issues.
It’s clear in her new music, and an in-depth NPR interview, that her mental health is still very much on her mind. In fact, she acknowledged a very important truth — maintaining mental wellness will be a “forever” struggle.
“I feel great,” she said while appearing on Weekend Edition Sunday. “I’m on the proper medication that I need to be on, even as far as my mental health. I fully believe in just making sure you check in with your doctors or therapist. [Taking care of mental health — ] that’s forever. That’s something I will have to continue to work on.”
“Yes, I don’t think I just magically feel better,” she continued. “I have days where it is hard for me to get out of bed, or I have major anxiety attacks. All of that still happens. I think ‘Fun,’ in that particular way, was that I do like learning about it.”
Gomez returned to the spotlight last week when her new record, “Rare,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. In the years between her latest and last album, she endured two public breakups, a kidney transplant, and struggled with autoimmune disease Lupus.
When asked about hardships from her split with Justin Bieber — a romantic saga which fascinated the media — she said she was able to find “strength in it,” and acknowledged the importance of not just recognizing emotional abuse in a relationship, but parting with a “victim mentality.”
“It’s dangerous to stay in a victim mentality. And I’m not being disrespectful, I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse,” she said. “I had to find a way to understand it as an adult. And I had to understand the choices I was making.”
“As much as I definitely don’t want to spend the rest of my life talking about this,” she continued, “I am really proud that I can say I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt and I’ve found a way to just walk through it with as much grace as possible.”
Throughout her personal trials and tribulations, she spoke out about her experience battling major anxiety and depression for five years after turning 26, even receiving the 2019 McLean Award — an honor from McLean Hospital in Massachusetts recognizing her work to advance the public’s understanding of mental health.
“I have feared being misunderstood and judged. I know that I have been given experiences and people and opportunities that have made my life exceptionally beautiful and sweet — and yet I struggle with my own thoughts and feelings at times,” she said in her acceptance speech. “But this doesn’t make me faulty. This does not make me weak. This does not make me less than. This makes me human. We need help, and we need each other.”
Her longtime friend and fellow pop star, Demi Lovato, stunned the Grammy audience Sunday night with a raw performance of her new single, “Anyone,” which she described as a “cry for help,” written and recorded just four days before Lovato was hospitalized in 2018 for a drug overdose. Gomez was among the celebrities admiring Lovato’s vulnerability.
“I wish there were words to describe how beautiful, inspirational, and DESERVED this moment was,” she shared in an Instagram Story. “Demi, I’m so happy for you. Thank you for your courage and bravery.”
Before Lovato’s big comeback moment, Gomez told NPR that same day that she considers vulnerability to be “a strength.”
“One of my issues is that I always felt like I was this weak person because I would cry, or I would get emotional, or I hated when people were rude. I just started getting to the place, definitely a few years ago, where I understood that vulnerability is actually such a strength,” she said. “I shine the most within when I’m sharing my story with someone, or when I’m there for a friend.”
About the Writer:
Greg Gilman spent nearly a decade as an entertainment news reporter and editor for publications including Perez Hilton, TheWrap and TMZ’s TooFab. He left that life behind at the start of 2019, and spent the year detoxing his mind from the pop culture poison that had accumulated over the last decade. Now, he’s focused on writing pieces that are beneficial for the world around him, in between gigs as the frontman of LA rock band, Greg in Good Company. He has suffered from depression and anxiety, and is still trying to conquer an addiction to screens and social media, but has found studying Eastern spiritual philosophies to be tremendously helpful in his quest for peace of mind.
This site is for educational purposes and not a substitute for professional medical care by a doctor or otherwise qualified medical professional. The information provided by Outlier Magazine is on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.