Since 2016, Selena Gomez has been open about her struggles with mental health. The singer took time off from work last year after experiencing anxiety, panic attacks and depression related to lupus, and ultimately checked into a treatment facility in Tennessee to undergo therapy.
Six months later, she appeared on stage at the 2016 American Music Awards to deliver a speech about mental health that was lauded for its bravery. “I had everything, and I was absolutely broken inside,” she told the audience, adding: “If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken.”
Now, in a new interview with Business of Fashion, Gomez says that a major part of her recovery process was disconnecting herself from ‘friends’ who didn’t take her mental health struggles seriously.
“You are who you surround yourself with – 100%,” she says. “If you’re around people who think that stuff [mental health] is dumb, that think it’s ridiculous – ‘You’re crazy! You’re fine!’ – but you don’t feel that way, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate that.
“It’s a lonely journey to really figure out where all this stuff is coming from.”
Gomez started out as a child actress on the Disney Channel, and expresses some disillusionment with the entertainment industry, saying that her fame has made it harder for her to trust people.
“When I was younger, it was all fun to me… But when I got older, I started to become exposed to the truth behind some stuff and that’s when it flipped a little bit,” she says. “I realised that, ‘Oh this is actually really hard, and kind of slimy in certain areas,’ and I didn’t realise that certain people wanted certain things from me.”
“My confidence went through a lot with that,” she continues.
Gomez adds that in her mission to feel secure, healthy and supported, she ended up pulling away from several people. “I had to lose a lot of people in my life to get there,” she says.
“You have to figure out the people that are in your circle. I feel like I know everybody but have no friends.”
Expanding on this, Gomez explains that she has “like three good friends that I can tell everything to, but I know everyone. I go anywhere and I’m like, ‘Hey guys, how’s it going?’
“And it feels so great to be connected to people, but having boundaries is so important.”
Whether you’re an international celebrity or not, feeling supported by the people around you is a vital factor in tackling mental health issues.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, friendships can be essential in helping someone live with or recover from a mental health problem – and crucially, dealing with a mental health issue doesn’t mean that someone is incapable of being a good friend themselves.
For more advice on friendship and mental health, visit mentalhealth.org.uk.
Images: Rex Features