Camila Cabello Opened Up About Feeling 'Shame' Surrounding Her Mental Health Struggles

Singer Camila Cabello poses on Friday, April 8, 2022
Singer Camila Cabello poses on Friday, April 8, 2022

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Camila Cabello recently got candid about the mental health struggles she experienced while writing her newest album, Familia — a two-year "life-changing" journey with fairly humble (and relatable) beginnings.

During the April 8 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the 25-year-old artist revealed that Familia actually began in her Miami bedroom when she was "talking about anxiety" with her friends. "In the beginning, I started this album at what was like a really low mental health period for me," she told Fallon. "I only wanted to go back into the studio and work if it felt like something that helped me on my journey to feeling better and was a source of joy and healing and fun."

Cabello went on to explain that previously, she felt like she "had a lot to prove" as a singer- songwriter and that she struggled to feel comfortable speaking openly about her mental health. "I think my own battles with anxiety and mental health stuff, I was young, and I felt a lot of shame in talking about it," she said. "I felt like I had to go and just like have it all together and be this kind of like confident, you know, 'pop star'...and on the inside I was just like, you know, really struggling."

But this all started to shift while writing Familia, Cabello decided she wasn't going to try to create with others in mind, to "prove" anything, or to "impress" anybody. "Before, I felt like I needed to be healed or perfect to be seen, and I realized that being seen is what kind of is the healing thing," she told the late-night host. In addition to letting go of these pressures, the "Señorita" singer also learned about the importance of "interdependence" and leaning on her support system — a lesson that inspired the name of her new album, which "is about celebrating the people in my life," she explained. (Related: How to Navigate a Relationship When Your Partner Struggles with Mental Illness)

Despite previously experiencing "shame," Cabello has actually been quite open about her mental health struggles. In May 2020, the Grammy-nominated artist penned an essay for the Wall Street Journal about dealing with "constant, unwavering, relentless anxiety" and symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

"There was something hurting inside me, and I didn't have the skill to heal it or handle it," she wrote. "In order to heal it, I had to talk about it. Denying my suffering and berating myself didn't help things. I needed to say those three revolutionary words: 'I need help.'"

And so, Cabello started to do "a lot of work" through the help of cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, and breath work, among a few other coping and treatment techniques. And a few months later, she further elaborated on her mental health journey in an interview with People, telling the publication that she "felt really burnt out" before the pandemic. "I was barely home," she said. "I didn't have time to get to know who I was outside of my career. Pile that onto struggles with mental health, with anxiety, with these toxic levels of stress, it wasn't even a meltdown because I would just work through it."

But like her most recent "low mental health period," Cabello found that reaching out and asking for help from others helped her cope. On top of turning to her support system, she incorporated tools such as therapy, meditation, and exercise. "I tried a lot of different things...changing the way I eat, definitely changing the way I schedule my time and making sure that there's balance, that I have time for friendships and connection with people and I'm not just nose to the grindstone, not paying attention to my body and my needs," she explained. (Related: What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?)

Luckily, Cabello is now in a better mental state just in time for the release of her third-studio album, which is now available on all platforms. In the meantime, hopefully she'll continue to live and create from a place of security, authenticity, and lots of continued support from friends and family.

If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).