Selena Gomez reunited with Miley Cyrus on Cyrus' Bright Minded Instagram Live show today, and the two singers had a candid discussion about mental health, with Gomez revealing for the first time that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Gomez had previously spoken out before about getting help for depression and being diagnosed by doctors but had not spoken in detail about the diagnosis.
Cyrus started by asking Gomez how she elevates helpful, rather than unhelpful, dark thoughts, during a time of social isolation. Gomez told Cyrus she does that in part by talking to friends and "communicating with women I respect. I have a few older women that I look up to that aren’t in the industry. I call them. And I think talking through what it is you’re feeling is extremely helpful, and I think there’s wisdom in all of this in women and with other people."
"But sometimes I have to feel it, Miley," Gomez admitted. "Sometimes I’ve got to cry it out and I’ve got to release it and take a deep breath and then remind myself go back to my tools. Okay, where is this coming from? I understand I’m a big empath, so I feel so much of what world is feeling so maybe I need to take a step back from that or whatever it is but also just being there for other people actually helps me too."
"I agree," Cyrus said. "It’s given me so much light in this time just to connect with people, like you said, people I respect and people I love and want to hear their advice, but just to know people are there and just to know that people are feeling the same way that I feel makes me feel less alone. What’s your advice for someone who’s afraid to talk about mental health? Where would you tell people to reach out? How do you talk about mental health?"
That's when Gomez told Cyrus about her bipolar disorder diagnosis and how she educated herself so she'd feel less afraid. She said she had gone to "one of the best mental hospitals" in the country. "I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar," Gomez said. "And so when I go to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it."
"And I think people get scared of that, right?" Gomez continued. "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. It’s just I’m from Texas, it’s not known to talk about your mental health or you’ve got to seem cool and then I see the anger built up in children and teenagers or whatever, young adults because they are wanting that so badly."
She went on: "And so 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. It was like when my mom—well, 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 you’re not going to be afraid. And it completely worked. So that’s kind of something that helps me big time."
Gomez also spoke a bit about the difference being diagnosed made in her speech at McLean Hospital in September, although she didn't explicitly say what the diagnosis was. "It felt like all of my pain and anxiety washed over me all at once, and it was one of the scariest moments of my life," she said. "I sought support, and the doctors were able to give me a clear diagnosis. The moment I received that information I actually felt equal parts of terrified and relieved—terrified, obviously, because the veil was lifted, but relieved I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered for so many years from depression and anxiety. I’ve never had full answers, awareness or anything about this condition So I began to face it head on."
You can watch Gomez and Cyrus' full conversation on Cyrus' Instagram Live here. (Gomez reconnected with Cyrus, who she hadn't talked to much since her Disney days, by DMing her a butterfly emoji, Cyrus revealed. "I think you’re one of the greatest singers ever," Gomez told her. "And I just was so happy that I even got this opportunity to talk to you about some of the most incredible people.")
Alyssa Bailey News and Strategy Editor Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton).