Growing up in the 2000s, I feel like I grew up with Selena Gomez. From watching her on TV, seeing her in concert and now buying her make-up products, you can imagine how excited I was to find out she was premiering a new documentary on AppleTV+. This film follows her journey from 2016 to 2020 and right off the bat we see how fame is affecting her mental health. The rest of the documentary follows her struggles with physical and mental health. She opens up about Bipolar Disorder, Lupus and the cost of fame. Selena prioritizes generosity and forming genuine connections with others, and the movie does a great job of highlighting this. We see that through these four years she focuses more and more on her mental health, (which will be touched on more later) and by the end of the film she is feeling more empowered than ever, taking her mental health activism to the white house to fight for better mental health services in school. Here are just a few things that she does for her mental health that impacted her:
Hitting a breaking point
The first scene in this movie we see Selena struggling with her upcoming tour. She feels like she does not fit-in with other pop stars and she is not happy going on with the tour. Eventually she cancels the tour all together due to her anxiety and depression. She says in a statement about canceling the tour, “I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off.” During her time off, she checked into a mental health facility, which inspired her to do more philanthropy and adjust her career and aspirations. Taking time off to focus on her mental health was just what she needed to connect with herself again.
Selena states in the movie, “After I got out of the last treatment center, I knew what made me happy: connection.” By focusing more on philanthropic endeavors, she heads to Kenya to meet women who are focused on their education. She speaks with these women about prioritizing education and prioritizing themselves. By the end of the trip, she is already talking about wanting to go back there and meet with these women again. She heads to Europe to promote her upcoming album and during the press tour she talks about “feeling cheap” because the journalists aren’t listening to what she’s really saying. In contrast to her time in Kenya where she felt she had authentic bonds with the women she met, this leaves her feeling very alone. With the press, she feels emotionally drained while the conversations in Kenya lifted her up.
Throughout the film we see Selena go back to her hometown in Texas and spend time with her family. While she is in her hometown, she connects with old childhood friends, goes back to her elementary school and visits an old babysitter that used to watch her and her cousin. While reconnecting with her hometown and the people from her childhood she talks about her younger self and her best memories in her hometown. Although her typical childhood was cut short since she became a child actor around ten-years-old, she embraces her younger self and realizes how much joy came from her upbringing.
One of the best parts of the movie is how Selena’s journal entries take us through each scene. Through her journal entries, we can see how she feels in the past and the present. The last journal entry that closes the movie states, ”I’m at peace, I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m confident, I’m full of doubt, I’m a work in progress, I am Selena”.This quote perfectly connects the movie together and our feelings as a viewer too. Her journal entries are shown in every scene and it’s an important reminder of how impactful writing can be on how we are feeling, collecting our thoughts, and processing life as it comes.
From this film, we got an inside look at Selena’s life, but can also see a bit of ourselves in her journey. It takes courage to realize when you do need help and will ultimately bring you closer to yourself. It’s key for our mental health to identify areas of our lives where we can truly connect with others and feel like we can fully become our truest-selves. It’s also important to reflect on our past and realize how far we have come. By speaking with old friends or reading old journal entries, we are able to take away so much more than we thought. Bringing some of Selena’s habits into our life can help us better connect with ourselves and others around us.
Watch My Mind and Me now on AppleTV+. What did you think of the documentary?