Camila Cabello is pulling back the curtain on her private battle with OCD.
In a candid personal essay penned for WSJ. Magazine in honor of Mental Health Month, the Grammy-nominated songstress came forward about something she’s been personally facing behind the veneer of her Instagram feed.
“But 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 [obsessive-compulsive disorder] I was experiencing,” she began. “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.”
In the essay, Cabello described how her anxiety has manifested as OCD and her struggle with obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors also caused chronic headaches and stopped her from sleeping.
“My body went through what felt like multiple roller-coaster rides every day. I kept going and kept showing up, never letting people around me know how much I was really struggling,” she shared. “But you probably felt my distance on some level. All my loved ones did.”
The performer also explained that the embarrassment and shame she felt about what she was experiencing kept her from sharing it.
“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. 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,” the 23-year-old star said. “That same little voice also told me maybe I was being ungrateful for all the good in my life—and that hiding the open wound I’d been avoiding the last few years was the easiest and fastest solution.”
As she affirmed, however, “all of that is not the truth” and hiding her suffering did not heal it. She touched on how she also couldn’t be present for loved ones because “my mind was making so much noise and my hands were full trying to handle my own pain. I knew I needed to take action and take ownership of the one mind and the one life I was given.”
Ultimately, Cabello sought professional help and did months-long work, including cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation and breath work. “It also took a lot of self-love (believing I am inherently worthy of happiness, belonging, love and joy, no matter what), self-compassion (not emotionally beating myself up for struggling) and self-awareness (calling myself out on my s–t),” she noted.
While advocating for continued conversations around mental health and those suffering to speak up, the star confirmed she now feels “the healthiest and most connected to myself I’ve ever been” and “rarely” suffers from OCD symptoms currently.
“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.”
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