As the most followed person on Instagram (124 million followers and counting), Selena Gomez clearly knows a thing or two about technology. But with a huge audience comes huge pressure, which is likely why the 25-year-old went off the grid (sans phone, sans makeup, and sans connection to most of the world) for 90 days last October to seek emotional treatment and reconnect with herself.
Gomez opened up about the intense experience in the newest issue of InStyle. “I went away for 90 days, and it was the best thing that I ever could’ve done,” she said. “I had no phone, nothing, and I was scared. But it was amazing, and I learned a lot.”
Along with going without technology, the former Disney Channel star also went without doing her hair and participated in equine therapy (emotional health treatment involving horses). She admitted the experience was difficult at first, but soon saw the benefits for herself and others facing mental health challenges.
“I was in the countryside and never did my hair; I took part in equine therapy, which is so beautiful,” she said. “And it was hard, obviously. But I knew what my heart was saying, and I thought, ‘OK, I think this has helped me become stronger for other people.’”
In August, Gomez revealed to People that she was stepping away from the spotlight to focus on getting healthy. She said she was experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, and depression as a side effect of suffering from lupus, an autoimmune disease she was diagnosed with in 2015. In October, the singer cancelled her Revival World Tour to seek professional treatment.
Since finishing her 90 days, Gomez says she feels overall happier and healthier, though she admits “there are still days” that are tough, which is why she continues to seek professional support.
“I go to therapy. I believe in that and talking about where you are,” she said. “But I’m in a really, really healthy place.”
As for her relationship with social media, Gomez understands the power of connecting with fans all over the world, but admits that the pressure of millions of critics can put a serious strain on her mental well-being.
“It’s good to be connected, to see things, and to get a sense of what your friends are up to. But it also allows people to think they need to look or be a certain way, she said. “Now it feels more zoomed-in–you have ugly people trying to get negative things from you, and the energy makes you feel bad about yourself. You can’t help it. It’s very hard to find out who you are during all that mess and pressure.”
Sure, it’s tough to go without your phone for three months straight. But it’s even tougher to open up about your mental health struggles, especially when you have 124 million people analyzing your every move. And for that, we applaud Selena.