Camila Cabello Opened Up About Her Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Diagnosis
"I was desperate for relief."
To commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, Camila Cabello wrote a piece for WSJ. Magazine, giving readers a look into her struggles with anxiety and her diagnosis with OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. She describes her experiences without holding back, hoping to let anyone else going through something similar find some help or insight in her story.
The singer starts by clarifying that the life she shows on Instagram and other social media platforms isn't reflective of her reality. She begins her piece saying that followers only saw the glossy images of her performances. She hid the images of her anxiety and OCD, she said, which she said made her daily life "painfully hard."
"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," she wrote. "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."
Like many people experiencing mental illness, Cabello said that she felt "embarrassed and ashamed" about her OCD and was hesitant to tell anyone, especially since her public persona was so wrapped up in being strong and confident.
"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."
Physically, her OCD caused her to have difficulty sleeping, constant headaches, and a persistent knot in her throat. Mentally, she described "obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors" that made her "feel like my mind was playing a cruel trick on me."
After she sought treatment, which involved meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and breathing exercises, Cabello explained that she is the "healthiest and most connected to [herself]."
As for her anxiety, she wrote that she's finding balance with it, knowing that it's always there, but treating it as a "friend" now instead of something that was taking away parts of her life.
"For a long time, anxiety felt like it was robbing me of my humor, my joy, my creativity, and my trust," Cabello added. "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."