CW/TW: mentions of suicide, mental health struggles
Selena Gomez’s new documentary My Mind and Me released on Apple TV+ a few weeks ago, and many fans—myself included—have resonated with her story.
Throughout the documentary, the audience is taken through the past six years of Gomez’s life, where we see her struggling with industry pressure, panic, and her hectic rise to stardom since leaving Disney — all of which are aggravated by invasive tabloid culture. She speaks on her major insecurities, breakdowns, and the tiny voice inside her head that’s constantly telling her she isn’t good enough.
This is the first time we get to hear and see Gomez’s side of the story, where she is in complete control of her narrative, instead of seeing her as who the media paints her out to be.
But the documentary explores more than just her mental health. She revisited her hometown of Grand Prairie, Texas where the audience gets a glimpse into her childhood, her friends, role models, and how Gomez became the star she is today.
Personally, it took a lot of mental energy and preparation to watch this documentary. A part of me already knew I was going to resonate with her story, I just didn’t know if I was quite ready.
I definitely caught myself off guard when I began to bawl my eyes out within the first 10 seconds of the show, and the tears continued throughout the whole documentary. To be frank, I have never cried over any show, movie or documentary, in my life.
But this was different.
I saw myself in her struggles—whether it be the or the mental breakdowns and the random depressive episodes, you name it. In between transitions, we hear Gomez narrate excerpts from her journal entries over the years, sharing more insight into her personal experiences. The warmth of her words and the sentiments of her truth was enough to strike a chord deep in my heart.
While conversations about mental health are more normalized than it was before, the documentary identifies what many celebrities probably deal with when the spotlight is not on them. In recent years, more and more celebrities have shared their desire to take breaks from social media or world tours to focus on themselves. However, if there’s one person that I can remember who has consistently advocated for breaking the stigma around mental health, it was Gomez.
She’s used her large platform for the greater good, and has championed for change for as long as I could remember.
I think that’s why we see ourselves in this documentary. It just makes me think about how so many of us, young or not, turned to our journals to write our deepest and darkest thoughts down because we have so much fear stored in our bodies about reaching out for help.
She has always been open about sharing her trials and tribulations, and My Mind and Me pushes the narrative further into exploring the multiple realities of what was going on behind the scenes.
Gomez goes on to share how her highs and lows would last weeks, sometimes even months on end and that she didn’t know how to deal with her struggles.
We see Gomez check into a psychiatric hospital and mental health centres, as well as the lack of sleep, episodes of psychosis, mental breakdowns, and panic attacks she experienced – all while trying to find a purpose in her life.
It doesn’t make it easier with Gomez being a top superstar and having so many expectations to live up to, while also trying to balance her career and support her own mental well-being.
The criticism, pressure, expectations and industry culture can take a toll on anyone. As a celebrity, it’s certainly overwhelming to have every minor and major moment of one’s life documented in the media – a feeling that was intensified for Gomez considering how young she was when she rose to stardom.
Of course, speaking about mental health isn’t always an easy topic to discuss. With how stigmatized and taboo the conversation is, people are ashamed and afraid to admit their struggles, often fearing they will be othered if they do speak out.
Although Gomez felt empowered to make this decision, she also had second thoughts and doubts about the release.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gomez mentioned that she was afraid to release the documentary a few weeks before its release date because she was so nervous, and honestly, who wouldn’t be?
This is not surprising, considering how real My Mind and Me is – it truly navigates the battles between her mind and herself. Being vulnerable comes with baggage of its own, and speaking about issues like mental health can already be seen as taking a risk to your career.
People may see you as less, undeserving, a burden—both professionally, and personally.
She further mentioned that after the release of the documentary, she may go on a work hiatus because she does too much – a break she wholeheartedly deserves.
Since the release of the documentary, Gomez has been praised and celebrated, with fans showing much love and support for the actress and singer on sharing this documentary and how badly they needed something like this.
The support doesn’t stop there though. Her friends, management team, family, amongst others support her during her mental health relapse periods.
I’m just glad to know she wasn’t completely on this alone. She had love, grace and faith given to her from her inner and outer circle.
Gomez isn't afraid to show the world what so many of us tend to ignore and hide. It’s a documentary I recommend watching, but please do so when and if you’re ready.
Stream My Mind and Me on AppleTV now.
If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, here are some resources you can access:
- First Nations Health Authority manages and funds First Nation health programs
- Hope for Wellness Hotline are for Indigenous people who need immediate support 24/7
- Trans Lifeline provides trans emotional and financial peer support
- Youthline resources, referrals and support for 2SLGBTQ+ community
- Anxiety Canada provides accessible anxiety relief
- BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services provides health care services for peoples with complex needs
- Canadian Mental Health Association identifies and responds to Canada’s mental health priorities
- Here to Help explores strategies to help you take care of your mental health
- OPTIONS create effective, focused and responsive resources for the community
- Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 free, confidential mental health support
- Youthspace is an online crisis and emotional support service
- Talks Suicide Canada provides 24 hour, bilingual support to anyone facing suicide
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