Camila Cabello is getting candid about her struggles with mental health.
In an essay published in WSJ magazine Thursday, the singer, 23, discussed not wanting to come forward about her obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, OCD is when someone “has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.”
“I didn’t want to tell you what was going on for the same reason a lot of us don’t want to talk about what it feels like to be at war in our minds and in our bodies. I was embarrassed and ashamed,” Cabello wrote. “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.”
But, she said that was “not the truth.”
“There was something hurting inside me, and I didn’t have the skill to heal it or handle it. In order to heal it, I had to talk about it,” she said. “Denying my suffering and berating myself didn’t help things. I needed to say those three revolutionary words: ‘I need help.'”
She said she felt “messed up, with a capital UP” for a few months.
“My anxiety manifested in the form of obsessive compulsive disorder,” she explained. “OCD can take many different forms, and for me it was obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. To put it simply, it made me feel like my mind was playing a cruel trick on me.”
She said it also affected her physically, not allowing her to sleep for a long time and leaving her with a constant knot in her throat.
“I had chronic headaches, and my body went through what felt like multiple roller-coaster rides every day,” she said. “I kept going and kept showing up, never letting people around me know how much I was really struggling.”
Now, however, she says “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 added. “Today I am no longer in that internal war. I feel the healthiest and most connected to myself I’ve ever been, and nowadays I rarely suffer from OCD symptoms. Anxiety comes and goes, but now it feels like just another difficult emotion, as opposed to something that’s consuming my life.”
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