This time last year, Selena Gomez was at the height of her Revival tour and all over social media. Everything seemed great...until August 14 came. Gomez and her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber had a very public and very ugly spat on Insta that dominated headlines. It became a final straw for Gomez, who two weeks later abruptly announced the cancellation of her tour to focus on her mental health. She went away-off social media and off the grid-for 90 days to get treatment for depression and anxiety at a center in Tennessee.
"Everything I cared about, I stopped caring about," she continues. "I came out, and it felt like, 'Okay, I can only go forward.' And there are still days. I go to therapy. I believe in that and talking about where you are. But I'm in a really, really healthy place."
Her life was completely different there, she says. "I was in the countryside and never did my hair; I took part in equine therapy, which is so beautiful. And it was hard, obviously. But I knew what my heart was saying, and I thought, 'Okay, I think this has helped me become stronger for other people.' When I came out, I was asked to go to the American Music Awards, and everyone around me was like, 'Do whatever makes you comfortable.' I didn't want my fans to have a negative view of taking care of yourself, so I just went in head-on, and I'll tell you, the first time stepping on that carpet was so overwhelming. I felt like my back was sweating."
Gomez would give an emotional speech at the AMAs that November, explaining why she needed to get away. "I had to stop," she said then. "Because I had everything, and I was absolutely broken inside. And I kept it all together enough to where I would never let you down, but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down. I don't want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what's in here. I'm not trying to get validation nor do I need it anymore."
- Selena Gomez News (@MyLifeIsSelG) November 21, 2016
Gomez admits to InStyle that yes, she does feel more insecure as she gets older. "That's what I work on in therapy the most," she says. "Because of social media, because of all the pressure that girls have, it's so difficult. It's good to be connected, to see things, and to get a sense of what your friends are up to. But it also allows people to think they need to look or be a certain way. I remember when I had my Disney show, I was just running around and not caring and making kids laugh. I was all over the place. And now it feels more zoomed-in-you have ugly people trying to get negative things from you, and the energy makes you feel bad about yourself. You can't help it. It's very hard to find out who you are during all that mess and pressure."
Gomez, who got her start on the Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place in 2007, also doesn't really recommend being a child star. "I think it is really dysfunctional to be in this industry at a young age where you're figuring out who you are. I don't recommend it." Gomez really cared about other's opinions then. "When I was on Disney, it was like, 'Oh, they didn't like it?' It hurts your feelings. "
But, as Gomez puts it, now she's 'fought the fight of not being enough'. "That just goes back to where I am in my life-of course I care, but I care less and less, and that's so freeing," she says. "My livelihood can't depend on 'Am I liked?'"
Read Gomez's full InStyle interview here.
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