Camila Cabello confessed in an emotional essay for WSJ Magazine how much anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder affected her, sharing in her own words that she didn’t want people ‘to find out that I felt weak.’
For Mental Health Awareness month, Camila Cabello gave fans a glimpse of a side of herself that they have never seen. In an essay published by WSJ Magazine on May 28, the “Havana” singer, 23, opened up about her daily struggle with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, detailing that what she posts on her Instagram account doesn’t always equal what’s going on her life. “Here’s what there aren’t pictures of from the last year: me crying in the car talking to my mom about how much anxiety and how many symptoms of OCD I was experiencing,” Camila wrote at the beginning of her essay. “My mom and me in a hotel room reading books about OCD because I was desperate for relief. Me experiencing what felt like constant, unwavering, relentless anxiety that made day-to-day life painfully hard.”
The American Music Award-winner continued to explain that part of the reason she didn’t divulge her ongoing mental health struggles to more people — including her fans — was because she was “embarrassed and ashamed” and felt like she was “at war” with her mind. “I didn’t want the people who thought I was strong and capable and confident — the people who most believed in me — to find out that I felt weak,” she continued. “The little voice in my head was telling me that if I was honest about my mental health struggle and my internal battles (i.e. being human), people would think there was something wrong with me, or that I wasn’t strong, or that I couldn’t handle things.”
After enduring so much pain, Camila finally realized that she needed to seek help, because “denying my suffering and berating myself didn’t help things,” she explained. Mental health and mental illness affect each person in different ways. For Camila, her OCD was described as feeling “like my mind was playing a cruel trick on me.” Her symptoms also manifested in physical ways. Camila experienced insomnia, headaches, and the feeling of having a lump in her throat as a result of her anxiety and OCD.
But with the help of meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, breathing exercises, and more, Camila was able to become the “healthiest and most connected to myself I’ve ever been.” The singer, whose safely been quarantining with her family and her love, Sean Mendes, in Florida, explained, “for a long time, anxiety felt like it was robbing me of my humor, my joy, my creativity and my trust,” she wrote. “But now anxiety and I are good friends. I listen to her, because I know she’s just trying to keep me safe, but I don’t give her too much attention. And I sure as hell don’t let her make any decisions.”
Finally, the singer concluded her essay with a powerful message for those struggling with their mental health at all times, but especially during this difficult moment in modern history. “We live in a culture that pursues an unattainable perfection,” Camila wrote. “Social media can make us feel like we should be as perfect as everybody else seems to be. Far from being a sign of weakness, owning our struggles and taking the steps to heal is powerful.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, consider reaching out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Mental Health Coalition. For those seeking further resources, Teen Line can be reached here.