A positive after the pandemic has long been and gone will hopefully be the stark realisation of the futility of our obsession with celebrity culture. We’ve seen how far-removed they can from a real sense of reality (I love Gal Gadot but hate that ill-timed video). After all this, will any of us really give a toss as to how the Kardashians squander their millions? Locked up in their penthouse apartments or mansions, public figures have never seemed so like us, albeit in a more glamorous setting. They get no special treatment; the Coronavirus knows not of celebrity, nor does it care
What we will look for, however, are those we admire who continue to share the things which unite us. The things that, once the gloss is removed, remind us, that even with extraordinary jobs and privilege, comes vulnerability.
This week at least, that candle passes to actress and singer Selena Gomez. The 27-year-old openly discussed her bipolar diagnosis for the first time with Miley Cyrus on her Bright Minded Instagram Live series on Friday.
Both former Disney Channel stars recorded a 20-minute candid conversation about mental health where Gomez also talked about her major donation to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (she is one of many donating large amounts to help the fight for a COVID-19 vaccine). The location is familiar to Gomez: she was diagnosed with lupus in 2015, received a kidney transplant in 2017, and stayed at their mental health treatment centre in 2018.
She then recalled a trip she took to McClean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital outside Boston where she explains her was officially diagnosed as being bipolar.
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“Recently, I went to one of the best mental hospitals in… America, McClean Hospital, and I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar,” Gomez explained. “And so when I got to know more information, it actually helps me.”
“It doesn’t scare me once I know it”
She explained that growing up as she had, meant mental health issues largely weren’t discussed. She wants, she explains to take away the stigma and fear that surrounds a mental health diagnosis.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) April 3, 2020
“It took the fear away”
“I think people get scared of that, right? They’re like, ‘Oh!’ And I’ve seen it, I’ve seen some of it even in my own family, where I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ I’m from Texas, it’s just not known to talk about mental health. You got to seem cool. And then I see anger built up in children and teenagers or whatever young adults because they are wanting that so badly. I just feel like when I finally said what I was going to say, I wanted to know everything about it. And it took the fear away.”
She revealed among her coping mechanisms is that knowledge is power, something her mother taught her from a young age.
“When I was younger, I was scared of thunderstorms. And my mom bought me all these different books on thunderstorms so she’s like, ‘The more that you educate yourself on this, the more that you’re not going to be afraid.’ And it completely worked.”
Gomez originally spoke of her depression and anxiety diagnosis last year, explaining she felt “equal parts terrified and relieved – terrified because the veil was lifted but relieved that I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered with various depressions and anxieties for so many years. I never had full awareness or answers about this condition.”
For someone to talk to or for advice on mental health, visit samaritans.org or call 116 123.
Read more: Emily Ratajkowski: ‘I was battling serious depression… these notes might help you feel less alone’