Trigger warning: this article contains content relating to self-harm
Beautifully raw, Selena Gomez’s new documentary, My Mind & Me, is a deeply intimate look at her struggle with mental and physical health, finding her passion for philanthropy, and it puts mental health as its main message. If you decide to watch this documentary, definitely have a box of tissues nearby. I found myself crying not only at the sad and dark moments but also at the highlights and positive moments.
Going back to 2016, we see Selena getting ready for her Revival tour. She is breaking down during the preparation process for the tour, criticizing her body, outfits, and performance. She said that she doesn’t want to disappoint John, chairman of Interscope, for signing “some Disney kid.” Here we see Selena being extremely critical of herself and not trying to let her past define her, which is something that most of us do a lot of during our lifetime. One of the highlights of the documentary is when Selena was performing “Who Said” on tour, the audience sang the lyrics with her and she got very emotional. This moment showed how influential and how much of a role model she is to her fans, and it comes full circle at the end of the documentary when she said she wants to use her platform for good and make positive change.
A very powerful moment in the documentary is when Selena was in Kenya visiting a school she helped fund, and she had a chance to talk to a college student who shared their story about self-harm with her. And when she was speaking at the McLean psychiatric hospital’s annual dinner, we saw many people talking to her about their own journey and struggle with mental health. These moments really helped emphasize mental health, and the documentary did not just focus on Selena’s mental health but also on how different people around the world struggle and deal with mental health.
The World Owes Her An Apology
Many moments in the documentary show how the media and the public did Selena wrong. After her break up with Justin Bieber, the media constantly bombarded her with questions about Justin, asking if she was jealous or if she was depressed about the breakup. While she was on tour enjoying her life, the media said that she was partying too hard, was out of control, and was rumored to have a drug problem. She also had to cancel her Revival tour due to her mental health. Selena then had to have a kidney transplant due to lupus and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She then tried really hard to understand her disorder and improve her mental health. In 2019, she released “Lose You To Love Me” which became one of her biggest songs. Selena then decided to perform the 2019 AMAs after not performing for a long time. Due to her physical health, she couldn’t sing the song to her full potential, and the media criticized her for the performance. In an interview she did in London for promo, she felt like the interviewer wasn’t really listening or interested in what she had to say which made her feel like a “product.” The world owes Selena an apology for their mistreatment and misrepresentation of her. Still, I want to acknowledge the side of the media and the world that empathized with Selena, those who portrayed her in an honest light and supported her.
How Sh*tty Her Friends Are?
It is strange that one of the main things that people are talking about after watching the documentary is how terrible her friends are to her. People are saying that her friends are not supportive or uplifting, and she needs new ones. The other side of the opinion is that true friends will not sugarcoat things and they will call you out and give you their real and honest opinions/advice. I completely agree with this — there are moments in the documentary where we do see Selena’s friends giving her good advice. Another opinion is that because Selena prioritizes her mental health so much, it would not make sense for her to keep toxic people in her life who would ruin her progress. It is very interesting that society is more invested in the “are her friends sh*tty?” idea than the message of the documentary and why Selena wanted to do this, which was to shine a light on mental health.
The documentary is beautiful and did justice to Selena’s story and passion for philanthropy while conveying the importance of mental health. We should really look at and support the amazing work Selena has done with trying to implement a course revolving around mental health into school systems, and her Rare Impact Fund which is helping to close the gap between health services and resources. Thank you Selena for sharing your story and using your platform to make a difference.