Selena Gomez completes treatment program: What she says about battling anxiety and depression

Writer, Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle
Yahoo Lifestyle
Selena Gomez arrives at the Billboard Women in Music event in November 2017. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Selena Gomez arrives at the Billboard Women in Music event in November 2017. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Selena Gomez is continuing to focus on her mental health. The “Wolves” singer recently completed a two-week treatment program for depression and anxiety, Yahoo Lifestyle can confirm.

Gomez stayed at an on-site center in New York City, where she focused on therapy, eating healthy meals cooked by an on-site chef, doing Pilates, and meditating, according to the Blast. She also reportedly plans to return later this year for another “tune-up.”

The move comes after a tumultuous end to 2017.

The star had to undergo a kidney transplant, and tensions between her and her family were high over the singer’s choice to get back together with Justin Bieber. She was also facing a wave of backlash for working with Woody Allen, something her mom, Mandy Teefey, even spoke out against. Gomez’s relationship with her mom has reportedly been strained, so it’s no surprise that the singer felt the need to regroup emotionally. Bieber was apparently supportive of her decision.

Gomez first entered rehab four years ago, secretly completing a two-week stint in January 2014. Despite false reports it was for substance abuse, the singer later revealed she was diagnosed with lupus, which caused her to seek treatment and take time for herself.

“I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke,” Gomez told Billboard about her time out of the spotlight. “I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy. You’re assholes.’ I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again.”

Initially, her break wasn’t something Gomez was comfortable discussing in the press.

“First off, this is something that everyone always wants to fixate on. I got diagnosed with lupus. My mom had a very public miscarriage. So I had to cancel my tour. I needed time to just be OK,” she explained to GQ in 2015. (Teefey had a miscarriage in 2011, which caused the singer to cancel some concerts.) “And I went to two different locations for [lupus] treatments. It’s really frustrating, because I am 100 percent allowed to have that, but I think people just want to have some sort of … my past seems to be way more fascinating for people than my future, which bums me out.”

In 2016, Gomez embarked on her “Revival World Tour,” but after about four months she abruptly pulled the plug on her remaining tour dates.

“As many of you know, around a year ago I revealed that I have lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways,” she said in a statement to People. “I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks, and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges.”

Gomez continued, “I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off. Thank you to all my fans for your support. You know how special you are to me, but I need to face this head-on to ensure I am doing everything possible to be my best. I know I am not alone by sharing this. I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues.”

The actress’s hiatus also happened to coincide with a very public feud with ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber … which is partly why those close to Gomez didn’t exactly welcome him back with open arms. Ultimately, Gomez checked into a treatment facility in Tennessee for three months.

“Tours are a really lonely place for me,” she reflected to Vogue. “My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after leaving the stage. Basically I felt I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t capable. I felt I wasn’t giving my fans anything, and they could see it — which, I think, was a complete distortion.”

Gomez’s 90-day treatment program included group sessions with other women. “You have no idea how incredible it felt to just be with six girls,” she told the magazine. “Real people who couldn’t give two s***s about who I was, who were fighting for their lives. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was the best thing I’ve done.”

In that 2017 interview, the singer said she was seeing a therapist five days a week. She also did equine therapy and is a supporter of dialectical behavior therapy, or “DBT.” DBT is a combination of cognitive and behavioral therapies, usually consisting of individual and group sessions. It focuses on improving communication and mindfulness and helps patients try to develop tools to manage everyday stress.

“DBT has completely changed my life,” Gomez shared. “I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.”

Part of the program meant surrendering her phone and taking a break from social media, which wasn’t the worst thing for the most-followed person on Instagram.

“It felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about,” she said about the social media site. “I always end up feeling like s*** when I look at Instagram.”

Gomez echoed similar sentiments in 2017 when speaking to InStyle, explaining her insecurities are what she works on in therapy “the most.”

“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,” she exclaimed. “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.”

Despite Gomez’s wariness years ago to open up about her struggles, she has now become one of the loudest voices out there, stressing the importance of self-care.

“I’ve had to accept where I am,” she told Billboard in November. “It took me about five years and moments where I needed to step away and be alone and fight those fights on my own, or go away to a place where I could focus on that. And that time for me was so painful and really hard and very lonely. But I really, really felt that that’s what helped me feel satisfied with where I am.”

Clearly, she is taking all the necessary steps to make sure she stays that way.

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