The Only Murders in the Building actress, 30, chronicled her career milestones and physical and mental health journey between 2016 and 2020 in her Apple TV+ documentary, which premiered earlier this month.
“She poured her heart and soul into this and it took a heck of a lot of courage to go as deep into her journey as she did,” the insider tells Us of Gomez’s participation. “As happy and centered as she is now, this is someone who freely admits she’s hit the wall numerous times in her life and had to rebuild and reset herself when all hope may have seemed lost.”
The source continued, “She’s grateful to have had these second chances, especially as it gives her the opportunity to help others and send that message loud and clear that anything is possible if you have the right mentality and tools at your disposal.”
The film, directed by Alek Keshishian, began with the Disney Channel alum, then 23, preparing for her 2016 Revival tour. Gomez ultimately decided to cancel performances following 55 shows after suffering a “psychotic break,” subsequently entering a treatment facility. After three years of on and off medical assistance, My Mind & Me resumed production in 2019.
“When you’re struggling with your mental health, the essential part of it is knowing what to do and recognizing that,” Gomez said in the documentary about her battle with depression, which had been triggered by her lupus. “It’s something that I’m not ashamed of. I had to relearn things.”
The Wizards of Waverly Place alum, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2015 and revealed her bipolar diagnosis in 2020, admitted that she “completely fell out” of her mind. She added: “It was like, ‘Hey you’re not a bad person, you’re not a gross person, you’re not any of this. But you’re going to have to deal with this. I know it’s a lot but this is the reality.’ And I found having a relationship with bipolar and myself — it’s going to be there. I’m just making it my friend to know. I think that I needed to go through that to be who I am and I’m going to keep going through that.”
While Gomez — a fervent mental health advocate — is relieved to open up about her experiences, the former child star had “serious nerves” and apprehension ahead of the film’s release.
“It felt scary to put so much of herself out there and Selena wouldn’t have been human if that didn’t feel daunting and scary before she approved the final version. She got past the jitters by reminding herself why it was so important to follow through, to tell her truth and hopefully inspire,” the source adds. “The feedback she’s gotten so far has been mind-blowing, everyone’s thrilled and telling her she should be so proud of herself which she really is.”
In addition to candidly discussing her health challenges, Gomez opened up about her time in the spotlight and navigating her public breakup from Justin Bieber. The twosome dated on and off from 2011 to 2018 before he moved on with now-wife Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin).
“She didn’t want the headlines to be focused on her and Justin, that part of her life is long since in the past,” the insider explains to Us, noting the Rare Beauty founder is ardent against letting a former relationship define her reputation moving forward. “There were very difficult moments between them through the years, everyone knows that, but she chooses to keep them private and not to dwell on them.”
As My Mind & Me has garnered critical acclaim, Gomez and her mother and former manager, Mandy Teefey — who spoke of her relationship with her daughter in the doc — are ready to move their relationship past its release.
“The reason why is because we lived some of that together. We went through that, and we found healing and we’ve moved past some of it,” the Wondermind cofounder, 46, said during a November appearance on the “On Purpose With Jay Shetty” podcast, noting she had no plans to watch the documentary. “And even if it’s something she went through, and I didn’t know she went through it, as a mother, it’s gonna affect me. It’s gonna hurt my stomach, it’s gonna put me in that mindset, and I’m going to wish I could go and protect her.”
For more on Gomez’s reaction to the documentary, watch the video above and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.