As the U.S. nears the two-year anniversary of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Selena Gomez spoke candidly to InStyle about how the experience of quarantining and living during this challenging time changed the way she saw herself and her mental health journey.
“I became aware that my little world is complicated, but the picture is much bigger than the stuff I deal with,” she said. “I have problems with depression and anxiety, and I found it difficult for me to be me. I didn’t want to post anything on social media because I realized that I was in a situation where I was extremely blessed. What could I possibly post or say? Then I had the idea of inviting multiple people to be on my Instagram to tell their stories.” (Gomez invited Black activists to take over her Instagram last summer amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.)
Gomez, who quit using social media platforms personally years ago, reemphasized that move drastically improved her life and self-image. She called it “the best decision that I’ve ever made for my mental health.”
“At one point Instagram became my whole world, and it was really dangerous,” she said. “In my early 20s, I felt like I wasn’t pretty enough. There was a whole period in my life when I thought I needed makeup and never wanted to be seen without it. The older I got, the more I evolved and realized that I needed to take control of what I was feeling.”
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Gomez doesn’t have her account passwords. “The unnecessary hate and comparisons went away once I put my phone down,” she said. “I’ll have moments where that weird feeling will come back, but now I have a much better relationship with myself.”
Gomez added that generally, she really does prioritize her mental health over pleasing other people now, thanks to therapy and the self-work she’s done. “If I’m not in the best headspace and my friends invite me out, I won’t go,” she said. “I’ve lost my sense of FOMO, which I’m proud of. Sometimes I push myself too much, and it catches up to me. But I try to balance out everything as best as I can. I like to be there for my friends and celebrate everyone. But I have to make sure that I’m okay, you know? Because if I’m not okay, I can’t be okay for other people.”
Alyssa Bailey Senior News and Strategy Editor Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton).
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