Selena Gomez introduced the world to the complexities of her mind and mental health through her new, aptly titled AppleTV+ documentary, My Mind & Me, which held its premiere at AFI Festival in Los Angeles, Calif., on Wednesday night (Nov. 2).
“I was going to release this documentary multiple times and it never really felt right,” the star told Billboard on the red carpet at the event. “Then the pandemic hit and a lot of people started having conversations around mental health, the isolation, people feeling depressed or anxious — never feeling those feelings before but have now. I just hope that this will carry on to something like a conversation that people will use to help later on.”
The theme of connection and starting a conversation rang true throughout the film, as Gomez sought healing from her bipolar disorder and lupus diagnoses as well as her 2017 kidney transplant through spending time with others — whether that be her best friend Raquelle Stevens, her childhood neighbors in Grand Prairie, Texas, or the children of Kenya during a 2019 philanthropic visit.
The Alek Keshishian-helmed film is a raw look at mental health, pulling back the curtain of fame to reveal a young woman who is actively working on her complicated relationship with loving and accepting herself. It’s rare to see a high-profile star show the more uncomfortable versions of herself to a global audience, allowing a camera crew to film her as she cries over her insecurities, undergoes a medical IV therapy for lupus and speaks at length about what it’s like to have a psychological disorder.
At one point in the documentary, Gomez likens learning about her bipolar disorder to reading about thunder and lightning as a child to help subside her fear of storms — which is a lesson she told Billboard she still uses to this day. “Knowledge eliminates fear in my opinion, because then you start having a relationship with your mental health, so I would suggest to learn as much as you can,” she shared as her advice to those going through similar struggles that she has gone through.
At an onstage Q&A following the premiere, Gomez elaborated on that same thought. “It’s OK to feel not good enough and to feel like you’re complicated and complex. It’s just about having a healthy relationship with how you talk to yourself, how you seek help, how you talk to other people,” she said of what she hopes people will take from the film. “I hope this starts a chain reaction of people saying, ‘Hey, I want to say something about my mental health. I want to talk about it and seek help.’ That’s one of the bravest things someone can do. Even if just one person is impacted by this film, I would consider myself the luckiest girl.”
Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me is out on Apple TV+ starting Friday (Nov. 4).