Inquirer.net/Asia News Network
Camila Cabello at the 2019 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, United States, on November 24, 2019. (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)
Camila Cabello’s Instagram feed is a collection of picture-perfect moments: Her singing and writing songs in the studio; outtakes from her music videos; her cuddling up with her dog on the couch; her looking glammed-up attending high-profile events; and her playing music with her boyfriend, Shawn Mendes.
But while these curated photos give off the impression that her life is all roses, they barely scratch the surface.
What those photos don’t show, Camila said, was her constant struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)—a mental illness which, according to WebMD, causes a person to have repeatedly unwanted thoughts and sensations that are beyond their control.
“Here’s why 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; me and my mother in a hotel room reading books about OCD because I was desperate for relief,” she wrote in a recent essay in The Wall Street Journal Magazine.
Because of her condition, the 23-year-old pop star has had to put up with chronic headaches, sleepless nights, and “constant, unwavering and relentless anxiety that made day-to-day life painfully hard.” She also felt that her OCD has robbed her of her “humor, joy, creativity and trust”.
“My body went through what felt like multiple roller-coaster rides every day. But I kept going and showing up, never letting people around me know how much I was struggling,” she said. “And you probably felt my distance on some level. All my loved ones did.”
And like most people dealing with mental disorders, Camila was reluctant to open up about her struggles, in fear of disappointing those who look up to her for being “strong and confident”… and of being perceived as weak.
“The little voice in my head was telling me that if I was honest about my mental health struggle, people would think there was something wrong with me, or that I wasn’t strong, or that I couldn’t handle things,” the 23-year-old star admitted. “That same little voice also told me maybe I was being ungrateful for all the good in my life.”
But eventually, the “Havana” hitmaker realized that keeping this all to herself and denying her suffering will only do her more harm than good. “I need help,” she said.
After acknowledging her situation, Camila sought professional care. She underwent a monthlong cognitive behavioral therapy, and learned meditation and breathing exercises. Now, Camila feels like she’s the healthiest she has ever been. “It also took a lot of self-love and self-compassion,” she said.
Her OCD and anxiety haven’t totally gone away; they still creep in once in a while. But she no longer lets them consume her. “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,” she stressed.
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