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Bella Hadid opens up about losing joy, people-pleasing and seeking help: 'I was the 1st one in my family to go to therapy'

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Shortly after opening up about her struggles with mental health, Bella Hadid is sharing how therapy has helped her to not only find joy in her own life but also to mend relationships across her family.

"I grew up in a very Arab and European family that therapy was not a thing, and I was the first one in my family to go to therapy," the model shared on the VS Voices podcast. "That was a big step forward that progressed kind of my whole family's chance of healing because everyone followed, which was really enlightening for me to see how that domino effect affected our family."

The 25-year-old has become a celebrity in her own right after following in the footsteps of her supermodel mother Yolanda Hadid and older sister Gigi Hadid. Still, she recalled feeling like a "black sheep" when she was younger.

"I always just separated myself from a young age. You know, I was the one kid that would sleep out every night at my girlfriends' houses and just felt more attached to other things in my life than what was given to me. I've always just wanted to see the world from a different perspective and explore and whether that made me the black sheep or not, I was just unlike my family in a lot of ways," she said. "I always felt like my voice was never heard growing up, so that's why I have a lot of complications."

Bella explained that her relationships with family members and specifically men, early on in her life led her to struggle with boundaries in her adult life. Ultimately, that trickled into work and allowed her to get stuck in a dark place while at the height of her career.

"It really got to a point and a place where I looked at everything that I had done over the past 8 years. I had the most September covers of anybody in history, these accolades that I had picked up on the way, I never even realized that they happened. I never was able to pat myself on the back and say, 'Wow, you really did work hard.' It was always me and this like dark hole of autopilot just trying to make it through," she explained. "There was no substance to me because I had given all that I had to my career and the people in my life and the people in my career who essentially couldn't fix anything for me except for maybe a call or two every week. But I realized I had to fix that for myself."

The model opened up about the "work" that she had done on herself to identify her "traumas, triggers, joys, and routine" in an Instagram post about mental health in November 2021. She shared on the podcast that these realizations took place during a time when she stepped away from her career and focused on herself.

"I lost joy completely. It's a bizarre place to be in because ... there's nothing wrong in my life," she said. "I always wanted to make everyone proud, work as hard as I could, be kind, do these things — and I did check those things off of the list. I realized there was a whole other list I wasn't looking at."

Bella now credits therapy as one of the most helpful tools that she turned to in order to better herself, adding that it eventually inspired other family members to seek out therapy themselves. She also focused on "staying off of social media" and practicing meditation.

"It sounds very cliché but to not have the energy of everyone else and their projections being projected back onto you is one of the most powerful things of all time," she said of taking time away from social media. "This is the first year I took time away and I had never done that before, so it was a big experience for me to be able to make the time for myself and kind of experience life without the material and the cameras and the lifestyle that I had been living for so many years that didn't feel true to me. And once I was able to be at a place and take the time for myself and see myself through others' eyes that wasn't just the world's vision of what I was supposed to be, it was really interesting and it was really a lot of clarity for me to really see myself again."

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