Camila Cabello is a staple on Pop radio stations. The Cuban-American songstress first caught our eyes when she appeared on The X Factor USA in 2012; however, at that time, she dominated the stage alongside her girl-group Fifth Harmony. She has since established a very successful solo career, dropping hit songs such as “Havana” and “Senorita” — the latter of which she sang with her current celebrity boyfriend Shawn Mendes! Cabello has truly made quite the name for herself.
She did us all a favor, though, by promoting mental health conversations and revealing the truth behind the glamourous curtain.
The 23-year-old published a personal essay in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, May 28. In this touchingly down-to-earth piece, Cabello discusses her struggles with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (ODC). As a singer with a large fanbase of young girls, her essay is especially important. She took the time to show her fans what truly goes on in her life and encouraged those struggling to find the strength to say “those three revolutionary words” that she needed to say: “I need help.”
Her essay begins by describing the inherent falsity of social media — it does not show everything. Social media is the beautiful, edited, filtered highlight reel of life. It does not show the times when she and her mom were reading books about OCD in a hotel room, desperate for some form of relief. It does not show the difficulty of sleeping or chronic headaches her OCD caused. It does not show the distance that she felt from her loved ones, just because she was so preoccupied with handling her internal struggles.
Cabello writes that it was her anxiety that manifested as OCD, which eventually took a toll on every aspect of her life: her mind, her body, her relationships. As a professional, however, she continued to show up to her obligations, never revealing her mental health struggles, showing us just how hard it is to be in the spotlight.
“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 penned. The voice in her head told her that because of her success and all the good in her life, she couldn’t reveal her struggles without being ungrateful.
What helped her overcome these thoughts was taking ownership of herself, and practicing wellness (such as meditation). She knew that she “needed to take action and take ownership of the one mind and the one life I was given.” She now describes her and her anxiety as “good friends”.
Her fans have taken to social media to shower her with love and extend their appreciation for her bravery. One fan tweeted: “It gives me inspiration and it helps me stay strong.”
Cabello ended her essay with a sentiment that perhaps we should all remember, whether or not we struggle with our mental health: “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.”
Camila Cabello paid homage to May’s theme of Mental Health Awareness and closed out the month by sparking one last important conversation — a conversation that hopefully is continued.