Lupus is a disease best explained as your own immune system attacking your body. The autoimmune disease affects everyone diagnosed differently but some basic symptoms are usually present including swelling, pain, and fatigue. The uncertainty of what a future with lupus looks like, the flares and remissions of the disease, and even the medication used for treatment can all cause emotional stress in addition to the painful physical symptoms. In many cases, this leads to depression. Mega-star Selena Gomez knows this battle all too well and made a statement today about how lupus and depression affect her near future.
Selena was diagnosed with lupus in 2013 but didn’t feel “comfortable and confident” in revealing her diagnosis to the public until 2015. After various methods of treatment, including chemotherapy to keep lupus under control, she states she just “needed time to feel okay” before she felt comfortable talking about it with anyone. After a full and exciting year, she announced today that she’d be taking a year off to focus on her health after dealing with depression, panic attacks, and anxiety.
In doing what was best for herself, Selena went through treatment for depression alongside her chemotherapy early on in her diagnosis. Around this same time, Selena’s mother had a public miscarriage, and it seemed like she was enveloped in both her condition as well as the mental effects of it. Selena’s bravery during her first private battle was incredible, her revealing her diagnosis took strength and power, and her taking a break now shows a new degree of bravery.
While some fans were understanding and supportive from the beginning, others jumped to assumptions when she canceled dates from her tour and went to rehab. Once Selena took her diagnosis public, it was expected that fans would understand, but she faced a new wave of criticism from people who both didn’t understand the disease and thought she was ‘making it up’.
Lupus is debilitating, there is no cure, and it can attack any part of your body at any time. The exact cause of the disease is unknown but some risk factors have been pinpointed. Everything from sunlight and stress to medication and hormone imbalances can trigger lupus and what happens next can range from a skin rash and inflamed joints to seizures and endocarditis. There is never a clear-cut series of events that happen when you deal with a lupus flare up and that too, is one of the most vindictive parts of the disease.
There are ways to make the disease more manageable, but for people like Selena, they can be seemingly impossible. While on a world tour, sleep is hard to find time for and stress is at an all-time high. These two risk factors are enough for a lupus flare up themselves and when you factor in personal stressors; like Selena’s close friend Christina Grimmy’s death and day to day struggles of a being a young adult, she’s balancing a lot while still trying to keep the world happy, and that makes her vulnerable.
Selena’s bravery in putting herself first and taking time off to deal with her depression, anxiety, and panic attacks was a hard but necessary decision and fans are already showing her support on social media as they trend #GetWellSoonSelena and tag her in various photos, videos, and inspirational messages.
Selena told People Magazine this about her diagnosis.
“As many of you know, around a year ago I revealed that I have lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways. I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges. I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off. I need to face this head on to ensure I am doing everything possible to be my best. I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues.”
Selena unselfishly used her platform, once again, to inspire other people to face their own struggles and fight their battles with strength as well as openness. For this reason, and many others, it’s easy to see why her fans are jumping to the occasion to stand beside her in this battle and show her their unending support.
We are sending our love and well wishes to Selena too and we know that this break only ensures a stronger and more healthy future.