Selena Gomez Gets Candid About "Really Dark" Experience With Bipolar Disorder
Since first opening up about her bipolar disorder in 2020, Selena Gomez has slowly revealed more about her experience with the condition, which is characterized by intense, fluctuating emotional states. Ahead of the Nov. 4 release of her mental-health-focused Apple TV+ documentary, "Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me," the 30-year-old star sat for an interview with Rolling Stone. In the interview she got more personal than she ever has before about her struggle with bipolar disorder, how it upended her life, and how, eventually, she found strength from sharing her experiences.
It was during Gomez's early 20s when things "started to get really dark" with her mental health, she said in the interview. "I started to feel like I was not in control of what I was feeling, whether that was really great or really bad," she told Rolling Stone. She experienced manic and depressive episodes that could last for weeks or months, including low points that started with depression and led to self-isolation. "[I]t just was me not being able to move from my bed. I didn't want anyone to talk to me," Gomez explained. She shared that she thought about suicide as well, because "I thought the world would be better if I wasn't there."
Gomez said she went to four treatment centers to seek help. In a 2018 stint at one of the centers, she dealt with a bout of psychosis that left her dealing with paranoia for several months. She was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on several medications, which presented their own difficulties.
"There was no part of me that was there anymore."
The effects of the drugs left her mentally absent. "I was gone," she said. "There was no part of me that was there anymore." She later found a psychiatrist who cut her down to two medications, which Gomez said led to a period of detoxing. "I had to learn how to remember certain words," she remembered. "I would forget where I was when we were talking." Meanwhile, she was still struggling to accept her bipolar diagnosis and its effects on her life. Her need to stay on the medications, for example, means she likely will not be able to carry children, according to Rolling Stone. But she hasn't given up hope. "[H]owever I'm meant to have them, I will," Gomez said.
One way the multihyphenate celebrity says she's working toward acceptance is by becoming friends, so to speak, with her bipolar disorder. She goes to cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, a type of therapy for people who "experience emotions very intensely," according to Cleveland Clinic.
Opening up about her condition and her mental health struggles — despite of her instinctive fear of doing so — has also helped Gomez find a sense of purpose and acceptance. While promoting "My Mind & Me" on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" on Nov. 2, Gomez said that talking publicly about her bipolar disorder "wasn't easy," but it "gave me such strength." (She first went public with the diagnosis on Miley Cyrus's "Bright Minded" podcast in April 2020.) Gomez felt similarly nervous about the imminent release of the documentary, but she decided to push forward with it because she saw the impact it could have on viewers who also struggle with mental health, according to Rolling Stone. "A lot of people are going to see this whole other side of me," Gomez explained on "The Kelly Clarkson Show." "And I'm like, 'I hope they like it.'"
Gomez, who also founded the mental health platform Wondermind, has said that she takes comfort in knowing that she's not alone in her journey with bipolar disorder. (The condition affects 2.8 percent of Americans, or about 5.7 million adults in the US alone.) "I have always had so many different emotions and I didn't know how to control them quite well," Gomez said in a 2020 interview with Allure. "Once I did find out more about who I was, I was proud. I also felt comfortable knowing that I wasn't alone, and I was going to get through it."