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Selena Gomez says she let go of Instagram to protect her own mental health

By Camille Santiago Published Aug 20, 2021 4:08 pm

Selena Gomez says she found a new purpose in herself after letting go of social media for the sake of her mental health.

Gomez, who is the latest cover girl of ELLE’s Latinx issue, revealed in the interview that she has received scrutiny over the series of personal challenges that were publicized in the media. She also discussed the choices she made to protect her own mental health and quality of life. 

In 2018, when Gomez went to lie low for 90 days to seek treatment for her mental health in Tennessee, some people believed she was in rehab.

“I don’t even know what they really believed I was doing—drugs, alcohol, running around, partying. The narrative was so nasty,” the singer shared.

Despite her success, she admitted that her mental and physical problems—which included lupus, kidney transplant, chemotherapy, mental illness, along with her breakupsmade her question her capabilities.

“Every time I went through something, I was like, ‘What else? What else am I going to have to deal with?’” Gomez asked herself.

Then she reminded herself that there are other people out there who are also going through similar experiences as hers, adding that helping people is “really what kept [her] going.”

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But in order to do that, Gomez decided that she should acknowledge her illness and help herself first. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2018, she felt “a huge weight lifted off” her. “I could take a deep breath and go, ‘Okay, that explains so much,’” she told ELLE.

Gomez also revealed that her addiction to social media contributed to her mental illness, saying it somehow consumed her. After being named as the most followed person on Instagram, she "sort of freaked out."

She told Vogue: "It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to. I was an addict, and 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. I always end up feeling like s--t when I look at Instagram."

Until one day, she decided to delete Instagram and hand over the responsibilities to her assistant.

While she still provides most of the materials, she revealed that she doesn’t have the app on her phone “so there’s no temptation.”

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“I suddenly had to learn how to be with myself. That was annoying, because in the past, I could spend hours looking at other people’s lives. I would find myself down nearly two years in someone’s feed, and then I’d realize, ‘I don’t even know this person!’ Now I get information the proper way. When my friends have something to talk about, they call me and say, ‘Oh, I did this.’ They don’t say, ‘Wait, did you see my post?’” Gomez shared with ELLE.

In the years since, Gomez has become an advocate for mental health, encouraging people to talk about their struggles and check-in on one another. She also launched a beauty line called Rare Beauty, a makeup collection that celebrates natural beauty, and founded the Rare Impact Fund, a charity that aims to support those who need mental health services.

“Everything that I’m attached to has a charity aspect. If something good isn’t coming out of it, I’m not going to do it. I don’t need money,” she says. “I need people who want to fight with me,” she said.

Photo from ELLE