A journey through the mind of Selena Gomez: How her success almost killed her
In a new documentary, recorded between 2016 and 2020, the singer reveals her vulnerable side and her struggles with lupus, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder
They say that fame is not everything. For singer and actress Selena Gomez, that mantra has become essential. She has been in the spotlight since she was seven but in recent years lupus – a disease with which she was diagnosed in 2015 – and her bipolar disorder have determined the steps she has taken in her career. Now, she has decided to share her experiences through a new documentary, Selena Gomez: My mind & Me, which is available on Apple TV+. The documentary is based not on the glamor that surrounds her, but on her most human side. She lays out her struggles without filters through footage recorded over four years, between 2016 and 2020.
During the hour and a half the documentary runs for, the artist lays bare her fears and insecurities and doesn’t shy away from exposing her moments of weakness. The former Disney child star has faced a series of battles and she has been forced to change her lifestyle in order to protect her mental health. In 2016, she was forced to cancel her Revival tour, after performing more than 55 concerts, due to anxiety, depression and panic attacks caused by lupus. Weeks after the announcement, she was admitted to a rehabilitation clinic to treat her illness. Days before starting the tour, Gomez had been going through a difficult moment, plagued by self-doubt and suffering under the pressure placed on her. She recounts those moments over images of her appearing with her fans, acting, and even taking her pulse minutes before going on stage: a necessary measure to monitor her lupus.
Although her illness caused her to call a temporary hiatus in 2016, a year later she did so definitively. The singer had to undergo a kidney transplant due to complications caused by the disease. A friend, actress Francia Raisa, donated the organ to her. Her mother, who was by Gomez’s side during the process, explains what she felt five years after the operation. Visibly moved, as she wipes away tears, she says that the success of the intervention was “a miracle.” Six years later, Gomez announced in an interview with Rolling Stone that she will have to undergo surgery again in the future.
In addition to lupus, depression, anxiety, and kidney problems, in 2019 Gomez was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Despite the fact that her state of health has improved over time, the documentary shows how each step forward she took was followed by a small relapse: every time she attended a public event, she experienced episodes of dizziness, anxiety and vomiting. But the artist also shows that she knows how to find the positive side of every difficult moment. She wrote the song Lose You to Love Me in 45 minutes. The process helped her overcome her breakup with Justin Bieber. Her relationship with the Canadian singer has always been in the media spotlight, even after their separation and his marriage to the model Hailey Bieber, the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.
Since she was diagnosed in 2015, her illness has given Gomez little time for rest. In 2020, she had to undergo a daily four-hour treatment during which she was connected to a machine. In her interview with Rolling Stone, the actress revealed that it is most likely she will not be able to have children due to the medications she has been taking for years.
Despite her health difficulties, Gomez has taken time over the years to express her human side. One of her dreams, as she reveals in the film, was to create a foundation or school to provide psychological support to children. A year later, in 2020, she created the Rare Impact Fund, with which she has raised $100 million to provide access to mental health resources in school settings.
Gomez continues to take on new projects. She co-stars in the successful Disney + series Only Murders in the Building and has already announced that she will release a new album in 2023. The artist is unstoppable – except when she decides she needs a break.