When Selena Gomez realized she needed help last year, the 27-year-old remembers it as "one of the scariest moments of my life." The actress and singer received the 2019 McLean Award at the McLean Hospital Annual Dinner on Sept. 13 and in a powerful acceptance speech, opened up about her mental health struggles.
"I think that we are better when we tell the truth and so this is my truth," Gomez shared in a video later posted on social media. "Last year, I was suffering mentally and emotionally and I wasn't able to stay all kept up and together. I wasn't able to keep a smile or to keep things looking normal. It felt like all of my pain and my anxiety washed over me all at once and it was one of the scariest moments of my life."
Last fall, unconfirmed reports stated that Gomez was hospitalized for health issues stemming from her kidney transplant, which led to an "emotional breakdown." Gomez, who has talked about struggling with anxiety and depression before, never commented on the speculation.
"I sought support and the doctors were able to give me a clear diagnosis," Gomez shared on stage. "The moment I received that information, I actually felt equal parts of terrified and relieved. Terrified, obviously, because that veil was lifted, but relieved that I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered for so many years with depression and anxiety."
Gomez explained that she "never had full answers, awareness or anything about this condition. So I began to face it head on, as my mother taught me to face my fears and challenges when I was younger."
"I actually sought out to get the help that I needed. I got educated. I talked to a lot of people who were suffering the same thing," she continued. "I read a lot about it, and it was something that kind of took over and I became very passionate about it."
"I've met with some of the greatest doctors, and I've met with specialists and I'm just fortunate enough to be able to work with some of the greatest doctors and psychiatrists and amazing people to help guide me personally through my journey," she added.
"Although this does not mean that it has all gone away, I can say that after a year of a lot of intense work, that I am happier, I am healthier, and I'm in control of my emotions and thoughts more than I've ever been," she shared to big applause from the audience. "So I'm very happy about that."
Gomez added, "For me, it feels right to share that I have personally felt the effects of both depression and anxiety — but it isn’t easy. I have feared being misunderstood and judged. I know that I have been given experiences and people and opportunities that have made my life exceptionally beautiful and sweet—and yet I struggle with my own thoughts and feelings at times. But this doesn’t make me faulty. This does not make me weak. This does not make me less than. This makes me human. We need help, and we need each other.”
A fan account shared portions of Gomez’s speech on Instagram, which was apparently OK with the star. "Thank you so much. It was a special event at an amazing hospital," Gomez commented on the post, quipping, "Also I hate the way my voice sounds [laughing crying emoji.]"
People on social media have thanked Gomez for her candid remarks. "She’s such an amazing inspiration and a wonderful person," one person commented. Another added, "I am so proud of her! such a beautiful inspiration."
"I’ve never met u but every time u do something like this it makes me better," someone else wrote. "One of the most beautiful things in the world I believe is that ur able to touch someone’s heart without knowing u r. Thank you for using ur platform for things that actually matter in this world. I’m so glad that u r in this world because we need more people like u."
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