Selena Gomez revealed her mental health struggles to Miley Cyrus through an Instagram conversation, and the singer’s candidness has created a dialogue surrounding the Coronavirus and mental health.
Former Disney co-stars, Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus, reconnected this week on Cyrus’s Instagram account, after Gomez left a butterfly emoji on Cyrus’s new show, Bright Minded. The emoji sparked a deep conversation about Gomez’s mental health struggles, and the celebrities took to social media during one of the rockiest times in recent history, when mental health awareness is extremely important.
Gomez and Cyrus’s Virtual Conversation
“I've seen it, and I’ve seen some of it even in my own family, where I’m like, 'What's going on?'...I'm from Texas, it's not known to talk about your mental health. You've got to seem cool, and then I see anger built up in...teenagers or whatever young adults because they are wanting that so badly. And so I just feel like, when I finally said what I was gonna say, I wanted to know everything about it and it took the fear away.”
Before receiving her official diagnosis, Gomez had described her emotional struggles to Vogue in March 2017. She said that being on her 2016 Revival Tour made her feel “really lonely” and that her “self-esteem was shot.” She said, "I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting on stage, or right after leaving the stage. 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."
Gomez recently sought treatment at “one of the best mental hospitals in the world,” McLean Hospital. She said, “After years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar. And so when I got to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it. And I think people get scared of that, right?"
I realized that I was bipolar. And so when I got to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it.
Gomez’s vulnerability to Cyrus was met with sincere appreciation, and Cyrus replied to Gomez saying, “It was very sweet because you just sent a butterfly emoji. And that's enough, connecting with people and letting them know that you're there. A butterfly emoji is totally enough."
What is Bipolar Disorder, and How Common Is It?
According to Healthline, “Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme changes in mood. These shifts in mood can fluctuate from feelings of euphoria to those of deep sadness. They can impair your ability to function at work and in your personal life.”
Women are more prone to suffer fluctuations during hormonal changes, but the disorder affects men and women equally, with approximately 2.8% of American adults suffering from the disease each year.
Selena Finds Hope during the Quarantine and After
Despite the isolation that many are feeling right now due to COVID-19, Gomez and Cyrus are proof that reaching out with something as simple as an emoji helps people stay connected in uncertain times.
Gomez and Cyrus are proof that reaching out with something as simple as an emoji helps people stay connected in uncertain times.
Gomez says she’s been processing the diagnosis and has been writing a lot to help “process” her mental health in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Expressing her thoughts on paper has helped Gomez to “get to the bottom of” the illness while centering herself. Miley concluded the conversation by saying, “Send me butterflies any time," she told Gomez. "When all this has moved on and we can connect, we'll just hug."
With support and encouragement from loved ones, Selena Gomez is ready to cope with her mental illness, and her reunion with Miley Cyrus showed the world that being vulnerable about our struggles is the first step in our journey of healing.