Selena Gomez gets real about her 'terrifying' depression and anxiety diagnosis


McLean Hospital/Facebook

Selena Gomez is no stranger to award nominations, award ceremonies, or taking home actual trophies. She's actually won more than 90 awards throughout her career. But her latest award, the 2019 McLean Award for Mental Health Advocacy, is incredibly special because it is a testament to how far she has come mental health-wise and how much she is helping spread awareness.

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This mental health advocacy award was hard-earned and so deserved. We know because in her acceptance speech, Selena got real about just how hard it has been to be on her own mental health journey after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. The singer also shared why she made the difficult choice to be public about her mental illness even though she was afraid of being judged.

We're so proud of her, and you will be, too.

Selena's voice was full of raw emotion as she delivered her speech.

In these videos, you can hear the emotion in Selena's voice as she delivers part of her speech at the dinner. She said: "I think that we are better when we tell the truth. And so, this is my truth. Last year, I was suffering mentally and emotionally, and I wasn't able to stay all buttoned up and together. I wasn't able to hold 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. I sought support, and the doctors were able to give me a clear diagnosis."

"The moment I received that information I actually felt equal parts terrified and relieved. Terrified, obviously, because the veil was lifted, but relieved that I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered for so many years with depression and anxiety," she said. "I've 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 sought out help. I actually sought out to get the help that I needed."

"I got educated. I talked to a lot of people that were suffering from the same things. I read a lot about it, and it was something that kind of took over, and I became very passionate about it," she continued. "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 psychiatrist and amazing people to help guide me personally through my journey. 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, so I'm very happy about that."

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It hasn't been easy for Selena to be so open about her mental health issues.

Talking openly about having mental health issues was a very deliberate choice that Selena made, even though she was afraid of being stigmatized. At the dinner she said:

"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."

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After the event, McLean Hospital thanked Selena for her graciousness.

On September 15, McLean Hospital staff posted pictures of this year's annual dinner on Facebook and gave a special shout-out to Selena. "Thank you, Selena, for sharing your story with us and for warmly receiving the numerous attendees who wanted to share their story with you," they wrote.

After the event, Selena shared that she was humbled and honored to be included.

Selena shared this picture of herself with the award while standing in between Scott L. Rauch, MD, McLean Hospital's president and psychiatrist in chief, and Carol Vallone, chair of the McLean Board of Trustees. The caption on the photo reads:

"So humbled to have been part of the incredible McLean Hospital’s Annual Dinner and was honored to be able to share a bit of my story. Thank you Dr. Rauch for inviting me and spending time speaking with me about mental health. And thank you to all the amazing staff at McLean. And a huge thank you to David O Russell for connecting me with these amazing humans. These are the moments where I am so grateful for the platform God has given me. ❤️"

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We are so proud of her and so grateful.

Even though Selena is a public figure, that doesn't mean that she is in any way obligated to talk publicly about any of her health issues. By speaking about her mental health journey openly and without shame, she is doing so much to normalize the need to take care of our mental health in the same way we take care of health in general.

This is particularly important in the Latinx community, because although we experience mental illness at the same rate as the general population, we receive treatment at a lower rate, and without treatment mental health conditions can get worse. By raising awareness, Selena Gomez is empowering and encouraging people to seek the help they need just like she did, and that is a GREAT thing, whether she gets awards for it or not.

Topics: mental health  selena gomez