General Growth

Selena Gomez Opens Up About Anxiety and How Therapy Changed Her Life

Since a very young age, Selena Gomez has been in the spotlight. She’s been adored by millions of people for her acting, singing, and presence on social media (supporting others). We often think celebrities are immune to mental disorders because they’ve achieved so much success. But, you can see in my “celebrity bipolar” series, this is not true and they experience the same emotional rollercoasters as all of us do. As you read Selena Gomez’s experience with anxiety, you’ll learn how people with bipolar have a similar mindset as those living with other mental illnesses. For example, we ask the same questions, take a proactive role in getting the right help, and try to find an effective way to manage our mental disorder.

But, before we continue,

Another reason why Selena Gomez found a place in our hearts is because she’s been very vocal about her mental health issues, especially, her battle with anxiety. She openly talks about her battle, and what she does to manage it when on tour. Selena Gomez stated the following about her panic attacks –

First, she mentioned how touring made her anxiety worse and how she had a hard time getting on stage. When getting off stage, she was overcome with negative emotions. The anxiety when getting off stage was because she felt she wasn’t good enough or cable of getting the job done correctly.

“I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after leaving the stage,” Gomez said. “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.” –

Selena Gomez Taking Time Off

To manage her panic and anxiety, Selena Gomez took time off after her Revival tour in 2016. Around this time she checked herself into a psychiatric treatment facility near Nashville, Tennessee. Here’s what Selena said –

“As many of you know, around a year ago I revealed that I have lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways,” Gomez told People at the time. “I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges.” –

When asked why she decided to take time off, Selena Gomez stated –

“I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off.”

The Power of Therapy

Therapy only has power if it’s the right type of therapy. Selena Gomez was put into a program which involved dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). She was in this program for 90-days, and it involved her sitting in a small group.

“You have no idea how incredible it felt to just be with six girls, real people, who couldn’t give two sh*ts about who I was, who were fighting for their lives,” she told Vogue. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was the best thing I’ve done.” –

What is DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

I first heard about DBT while doing research on borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT was successful at treating borderline personality disorder but now is used to treat other mental illnesses successfully. I’ll write a separate post later about DBT, but for now, here’s what you have to know:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy involves the following –

1) Mindfulness – for you to successfully manage any type of mental illness, it’s important your fully aware of what’s happening around you. You need to live in the present so you know what attracts the negative energy into your life. By being fully aware, you can start to create a game plan to conquer the roadblocks.

2) Distress Tolerance – you need to tolerate, not change, the pain in different situations. If you keep running from the pain, you’re going to have a hard time managing it. Recognition and tolerance are very important.

3) Impersonal Effectiveness – you need to have the power to say “no” in a respectful way. I noticed during my growth process that my inability to say “NO” firmly was my biggest roadblock. My lack of ability to say “NO” put me in negative situations that impacted my mental well-being.

4) Emotional Regulation – how to effectively change the emotions you want to change.

My Thoughts

From a personal standpoint, I know how she feels and why anxiety does make you feel like you’re not good enough. It’s for the same reason why bipolar disorder made me feel that way. For a long time, I felt that having bipolar meant I was flawed and there was something wrong with me. It’s like I wasn’t good enough because I had bipolar, and had to learn how to manage it. Since I had bipolar and others didn’t, I felt there must be something wrong with me.

When I first got diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the biggest mistake I made was not taking my mental health seriously enough. I didn’t take the time to better myself and this delayed my progress by 6-7 years. For example, I kept doing the same things I always did and surrounded myself with the same types of people. As we all know, to successfully manage bipolar means to learn what helps control your triggers, and what changes to make in your environment to better your chances of stability.

Back then, the first question I asked was “what’s better for every else?” not, “what’s better for me?”. This slowed down my progress enormously. You can’t be happy if you put everyone else first, and yourself in second…it’s that simple.

Selena Gomez during her 90-day treatment was surrounded by people just like herself who were supportive too. I’ve always encouraged everyone with bipolar to carefully select who they socialize with. An environment full of negative energy will attract negative energy, but an environment with positive energy will attract positive energy.

In summary,

Mental health is important and it affects everyone. But, you need to be proactive in getting help. You need to take time off for yourself, and learn what skills you need to manage your mental illness. For a long time, I blamed others whenever something bad happened to me. I blamed everyone else for making me upset and for my bipolar diagnosis. But, I learned after a few years, I need to take responsibility for my actions and stop blaming everyone else for my mood swings. I realized, I have control over all my decisions and saying “no” to people. This allowed me to take control of my environment and understand what isn’t good for me. Selena Gomez did the same thing, she was proactive in getting help and found what works for her. 🙂


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Helping others beat bipolar disorder. After living with Bipolar for over 16 years, I have self-educated myself to come up with creative ways to live a normal productive life. It`s time to give back by helping others transform!