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‘It Started to Get Really Dark’: Selena Gomez Shares What Her 2018 Psychosis Episode Was Like

A new documentary about her mental health comes out tomorrow.
Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez spoke about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and having a psychosis episode in a new interview with Rolling Stone. The 30-year-old actor and singer shared candid details about her mental health ahead of the release of a new documentary about her journey. Called My Mind and Me, it’s available on Apple TV+ on November 4.

In the new interview, Gomez said her mental health took a turn for the worse during her early 20s: “It started to get really dark…I started to feel like I was not in control of what I was feeling, whether that was really great or really bad.” She said periods of highs and lows would last for months on end, and that, at times, she couldn’t sleep for days. 

The lows were particularly difficult to navigate, Gomez said: “It would start with depression, then it would go into isolation. Then it just was me not being able to move from my bed. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me.” This took a huge toll on her health. “Sometimes it was weeks I’d be in bed, to where even walking downstairs would get me out of breath.” During this time, Gomez said, she considered killing herself.

Then, in 2018, Gomez had a psychosis episode, which led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The episode started when she began to hear voices that eventually grew louder and louder. She said she only remembers certain parts of this time, but that she was in a treatment facility for “several months.” Gomez explained she felt constant paranoia and didn’t trust anyone. She also said doctors tried putting her on several different medications, which left her feeling unlike herself. “It was just that I was gone,” Gomez explained. “There was no part of me that was there anymore.”

After she left the treatment facility, a psychiatrist took her off all but two of the medications she was taking. “He really guided me,” Gomez said. “But I had to detox, essentially, from the medications I was on.”

Aside from getting used to a new medication routine, Gomez had to essentially reprogram her mind, she said. “I had to learn how to remember certain words,” she explained. “I would forget where I was when we were talking. It took a lot of hard work for me to (a) accept that I was bipolar, but (b) learn how to deal with it because it wasn’t going away.”

My Mind and Me isn’t the first time Gomez has been open with fans about her health: She’s also talked about living with lupus, an autoimmune disorder that left her with organ damage and led to her getting a kidney transplant in 2017, at age 24.

Gomez admitted that it’s nerve-wracking to be so open about herself—particularly when she’s releasing footage of times in her life when her mental health wasn’t great. “I’m just so nervous,” she said of the new documentary. “[But] because I have the platform I have, it’s kind of like I’m sacrificing myself a little bit for a greater purpose.” She added that she was so apprehensive about My Mind and Me, she didn’t know whether she’d sign off on the release until fairly recently. “I don’t want that to sound dramatic, but I almost wasn’t going to put this out. God’s honest truth, a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure I could do it.”

But, eventually, she gave it the all-clear with the hope that her experiences will have an impact on others, by helping them with their own difficulties. She’s already seen this happen, after a My Mind and Me screening. The audience’s emotional response confirmed what she’d believed all along, that there’s a lot of power in telling her story: “I wanted someone to say, ‘Selena, this is too intense,’” she said. “But everyone was like, ‘I’m really moved, but are you ready to do this? Are you comfortable?’...Eventually I just kind of went for it. I just said yes.”

If you are struggling with feelings of depression and need someone to talk to, you can get support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or by texting HOME to 741-741, the Crisis Text Line. If you’re outside the United States, here is a list of international suicide helplines.