Selena Gomez Opens Up About Her Struggles With Body Dysmorphia, Bipolar Disorder and More

Selena Gomez has never shied away from difficult conversations. She's braved many crises in her life, her very painful breakup with Justin Bieber, her Lupus, her diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, and even struggling to fit into the perfect body type. 

In a new interview with Fast Company, the Kill 'Em With Kindness singer opens up about her struggles, discussing her brand Rare Beauty, and the life-turning events that led her to found this company. In 2016, Gomez canceled the last leg of her Revival tour due to mental health challenges that involved "crying jags and bouts of hopelessness," per the magazine. She sought assistance and spent 90 days at a Tennessee facility. A kidney transplant was performed in 2017 as a result of a lupus diagnosis and the stress with accompanying clinical flare-ups.

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Monica Schipper

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Monica Schipper

Gomez, who had recently broken up with her long-term on-again, off-again lover Justin Bieber, recognized throughout her recovery that social media had grown to be too much for her. “I had just gotten my heart broken. I didn’t need to see what everyone was doing,” she says. “Then there were those moments of not feeling positive about how I looked because of what I’d see on Instagram. 'Wow, I wish my body looked like that'.” 

Trolls on the internet had a field day in 2018 when pictures of Selena Gomez in a bikini on a boat in Australia surfaced. She no longer had the figure of her younger self, and the scars from her kidney surgery were obvious—a reality that had already been made abundantly evident to her at a fitting for a fashion magazine. Before, she’d “had a teenager’s body,” she says. Now, “none of the sample sizes were fitting, and that would make me feel embarrassed. Although how unrealistic is it to expect a normal woman’s body not to change?”

Gomez abruptly paused her self-exile from social media after learning of snide remarks about how she looked in the paparazzi images and responded with a hard hand. She attacked the beauty myth in an Instagram post that she dictated to her assistant and that received more than 3 million likes. “The beauty myth—an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern woman in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty,” she wrote.

Although she knew after 2016 that her mental health challenges were bad, she didn't reveal her bipolar disorder until 2020, when she was detached amid the pandemic like the rest of us and engaged Miley Cyrus in a one-on-one conversation on Instagram Live. Looking back, she now realizes she was grateful. “I went through a really hard season. It was my highs and my lows, and I didn’t know what to do, so I couldn’t control it. I would want to cancel things. It was just a tormented feeling. That’s why, when I found out my diagnosis, it was just, ‘Oh, okay, I feel a bit relieved, I understand a bit more.’ I got second opinions. I went to doctors.”

She concluded with gratitude, adding, “I’m fortunate enough to be able to have people who can help me survive every day.”

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