Selena Gomez Talks "Past Mistakes" That Led to "Depression"
"Let me make you a promise, I'll only tell you my darkest secrets."
This is the vow Selena Gomez utters at the very beginning of Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, her revealing new Apple TV+ documentary. While the 30-year-old superstar has been open about her major health crises in the past—diagnoses for both lupus and bipolar disorder—Selena has never been more vulnerable than she is in the movie, which premieres Nov. 4.
Lamenting her mental health struggles, at one point the "Lose You to Love Me" singer wonders, "I have to stop living like this. Why have I become so far from the light? Everything I've ever wished for, I've had…and done all of it. But it has killed me."
Throughout My Mind & Me, Selena shares intimate details about her health battles, including her 2016 stay at a psychiatric facility and the devastating way her mother, Mandy Teefey, learned she was seeking treatment. And, in one crushing confession, she wonders if she'll ever be "good enough" on her own or if she'll always be inextricably linked to former boyfriend Justin Bieber.
But, ultimately, My Mind & Me is a story of a young woman learning to accept, embrace and love herself.
"I found having a relationship with bipolar and myself, it's going to be there," Selena says. "I'm just making it my friend now. I think I needed to go through that to be who I am and I am going to keep going through it, but I'm really happy. I'm at peace. I'm angry. I'm sad. I'm competent. I'm full of doubt. I'm a work in progress. I am enough. I am Selena."
So if you're emotionally ready, come and get these candid revelations Selena makes in Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me:
The Revival Tour Drained Her
Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me begins back in 2016, with a frustrated Selena Gomez prepping the stage show for her tour in support of her second studio album.
"It just sucks, all of it," Selena cried after one rehearsal. "It looks so bad. I have no idea what the f--k I'm doing." She went on to acknowledge that she had a voice in her heard telling her, "'You missed this, that sucked, that sucked,' and it sucks the life out of me and I don't want to perform. The pressure is just overwhelming because I want to do the best I can."
Selena is then seen apologizing to John Janick, the Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, telling him, "I don't want you to regret signing me." Concerned that the show felt "too young," the former Disney Channel star said, "I want nothing more than to not be my past and it comes back."
After 55 performances, including one that saw her admit, "sometimes I wake up and I feel like I don't have it in me," the Revival tour was canceled.
"Tours are a really lonely place for me," Gomez told Vogue in 2017. "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."
Her Friends Feared For Her Life
Following the cancellation of the world tour, Selena entered a Tennessee psychiatric facility for treatment for anxiety, panic attacks and depression stemming from her 2014 lupus diagnosis. One of the more alarming symptoms, her assistant reveals in the documentary, was suicidal ideations.
"At one point she's like, 'I don't want to be alive right now, I don't want to live,'" Selena's former assistant Theresa Marie Mingus recalled. "And I'm like, 'Wait, what?' It's one of those moments where you look in her eyes and there's nothing there. It was just pitch-black and it's so scary."
Added Selena's close friend Raquelle Stevens, "I just remember it being chaotic and she was hearing all of these voices. [They] just kept getting louder and louder [and] that triggered some kind of psychotic break. If anyone saw what I saw and the state she was in at the mental hospital, they wouldn't have recognized her at all."
Her Bipolar Disorder
The Only Murders in the Building actress opened up about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder while she was in treatment.
"I'll be honest, I didn't want to go to a mental hospital," she admitted, "but I didn't want to be trapped in myself, in my mind anymore. I thought my life was over. I thought this is how I'm going to be forever."
Reflecting on her diagnosis in footage from 2019, Selena said, "I'm in a better place, but I don't know. I guess sometimes I can't explain it for sure. I needed to keep learning about it, I needed to take it day by day."
She publicly revealed her bipolar diagnosis in 2020 during an appearance on Miley Cyrus' Bright Minded Instagram Live series.
Allen Berezovsky/WireImage for Fashion Media
Her Mom Didn’t Know She Sought Treatment
Selena's mother Mandy Teefey reveals that she learned her daughter had suffered a mental breakdown in 2016 through TMZ .
"They called me and wanted to know what my daughter was doing in the hospital," an emotional Mandy explained. "She didn't want anything to do with me and I was scared she was going to die."
Their relationship strained at the moment, she continued, "You hang on as tight as you can and try to help them with their treatment and that's the hardest thing to do, to just go to bed and hope that they wake up the next day. It's a miracle she got out but there's always that fear that it's going to happen again."
Lashing Out at Family and Friends
Prior to receiving her bipolar diagnosis, Selena recalled being "so mean" to the people close to her, especially her mother and stepdad, Brian Teefey.
"I shouldn't have spoke to them the way that I did and I shouldn't have treated them the way that I did," she explained. "Sometimes I know I wasn't me. When I wake up the next day and they tell me what happened, but they explained to me, like, 'Look, we know that that's not you talking and we're really concerned. Just know that we love you. We don't see anything different from what was last night to now.'"
Still, Selena said she can "remember certain things that I did...and even to this day, I keep saying thank you and I'm sorry."
Courtesy of Apple
Her Ongoing Battle With Lupus
After initially being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease in 2014, Selena struggled with a lupus flare in 2020 just as the coronavirus pandemic was beginning.
"I haven't felt it since I was younger," a crying Selena told a friend of the joint pain she is feeling. "In the morning when I wake up, I immediately starty crying because it just hurts, like, everything."
Selena shares that she has been having "bad dreams" about her past and mistakes she feels she's made. "It's what drives me into depression," she explained. "I just wanted to quit sometimes so I could just be happy and be normal like everybody else."
After undergoing tests, Selena's doctor informed her that she has "lupus myositis rheumatoid overlap," which causes inflammation in the joints and muscles. She then begins undergoing extensive infusion treatments that, Selena explained, are "really hard on your system."
How She Put Justin Bieber Behind Her
After delivering an emotional speech about her struggles with anxiety and depression while accepting the 2019 McLean Award at the hospital's Annual Dinner, Selena reveals that "being honest that night helped." And it ultimately led her to write "Lose You to Love Me," which she completed in just 45 minutes alongside songwriters Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter.
"It's about more than just a lost love," Selena explains of the hit song. "It's me learning to choose myself, to choose life. But also hoping that people can find grace and peace in that too. The song is about knowing that you completely lost every part of who you are, just to rediscover yourself again."
After years of being asked about her relationship with Justin Bieber because "everything was so public," Selena, who never acknowledges the "Sorry" singer by name, admits, "I felt haunted by a past relationship that no one wanted to let go of. But then I just moved past it. I wasn't afraid anymore."
And she was finally ready to move on.
"I feel like I had to go through the worst possible heartbreak ever and then just forgetting everything at the drop of a hand, it was really confusing," Selena says. "But I just think that needed to happen and ultimately, it was the best thing that ever happened to me."
Her Heart Is In Africa
"After I got out of the last treatment center, I knew what made me happy," Selena explains, "and it was connection."
But, per her doctor's orders, Selena's planned philanthropic visit to Kenya to see the schools she helped raise money to build was delayed several years due to her 2017 kidney transplant. Once she's finally apple to make the trip in 2019, she vowed to visit quarterly
"The truth is I've never felt good enough," Selena admitted. "Even when I'm on stage in front of a crowd, I'll always find the one person who doesn't like me and I believe them, I want to believe in myself. The people I've met here in Kenya are so giving, I just want to feel like I deserve to be here with them."
During her time in Maasai Mara, Selena bonds with the students, talking about love, ambition and, in a particularly emotional conversation with one woman, suicidal ideation.
After her time in Kenya, Selena travels directly to London and Paris to promote her music, but she struggles to adjust to her life as a celebrity. "It just seems like such a waste of time," she said. "What am I doing right now?"
Later acknowledging that "part of my heart is still in Kenya," Selena admitted, "I felt guilty being there sometimes. I hate that, I feel like I went and filmed and I experienced, but it's just so hard because I feel so selfish. Do I feel great? Yes, and do I feel like I left an impact? Yes, but do I feel like I've done enough? No."
"Talking to someone about mental health in Kenya, that's beautiful," she continued. "I don't know if I felt like, 'Oh, I did it and I'm such a great person.' No, it's just the beginning for me."
Her True Passion Revealed
During her trip to Kenya, Selena shares her ambition to find a way to pass a bill that would add a mental health curriculum into U.S. schools.
"My ultimate dream is that I am able to save people's lives through something, whether it's a song, music or it's just me speaking about the troubles, trials and tribulations I have been through," she later shared. "I could be a voice for others who maybe don't know what's going on or what they are feeling."
In 2020, Selena created the Rare Impact Fund to raise $100 million to provide free mental health resources for young people. And in May 2022, Selena met with President Joe Biden to discuss the creation of a mental health syllabus in the nation's education system after hosting the first ever Youth Action Forum on Mental Health in coordination with the White House.
"When you're struggling with your mental health, the essential part is knowing what to do and recognizing that," Selena explained. "It's something that I'm not ashamed of."
Her Disney Channel Crushes Revealed
In one of the documentary's lighter moments, Selena visits her childhood home in Grand Prairie, Texas, and checks to see if the evidence of her teenage crush is still on her bedroom wall.
"I had a crush on Cole and Dylan Sprouse, so I'd come in my closet and I would write things down," Selena admitted of her costars from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Though she and Dylan shared their first-ever onscreen kiss in 2006, it's Cole's name she finds encircled with a heart. Joked Selena, "I'm sorry, Cole, if you ever see this!"
Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me premieres Nov. 4 on Apple TV+.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).