After taking a break from her Revival world tour, Selena Gomez is finally experiencing a revival of her own.
The It Ain't Me artist covers the April issue of Vogue and sheds light on her headspace following the August 2016 announcement that she was taking a hiatus to deal with anxiety, depression and panic attacks stemming from her lupus diagnosis.
After wrapping the North American and Asian legs of her tour, Gomez explains her “self-esteem was shot.” “I was depressed, anxious,” says the singer-actress, who went on to receive treatment at a psychiatric facility in Tennessee. “I started to have panic attacks right before getting on stage, 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.”
Gomez admits that she hadn’t allowed herself to grow up with her fans. And rather than leaning into her own vulnerability, Gomez still felt she had to act as a spring of comfort — shallow comfort but comfort nonetheless.
Meanwhile, she was still searching for her own.
“I was so used to performing for kids,” she says. “At concerts, I used to make the entire crowd raise up their pinkies and make a pinky promise never to allow anybody to make them feel that they weren’t good enough. Suddenly I have kids smoking and drinking at my shows, people in their 20s, 30s, and I’m looking into their eyes, and I don’t know what to say. I couldn’t say, ‘Everybody, let’s pinky-promise that you’re beautiful!’ It doesn’t work that way, and I know it because I’m dealing with the same (expletive) they’re dealing with. What I wanted to say is that life is so stressful, and I get the desire to just escape it. But I wasn’t figuring my own stuff out, so I felt I had no wisdom to share. And so maybe I thought everybody out there was thinking, ‘This is a waste of time.'”
“You have no idea how incredible it felt to just be with six girls,” she says. “Real people who couldn’t give two (expletive) about who I was, who were fighting for their lives. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was the best thing I’ve done.”
Gomez continues to see a therapist five days a week, and is now on a steadier track, focusing on her passion project, 13 Reasons Why (March 31) — a Netflix series dealing with teen suicide — and taking her time with her next album.
“For a change, it feels like I don’t have to be holding my breath and waiting for somebody to judge a piece of work that I’m doing,” she says. “I’m not eager to chase a moment. I don’t think there’s a moment for me to chase.”