What Selena Gomez Can Teach Us About Chronic Illness

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Selene Gomez, lupusDo you know the name Selena Gomez? Maybe you’ve never heard of her. Perhaps you do know the name because your kids or grandkids are big fans of her music. Maybe you’re actually into her and have been following her on-again/off-again romantic saga with fellow pop star Justin Bieber or have her Revival album on your smartphone. Or maybe she’s not your cup of tea. No matter what the case, Gomez is a name you should know, but not because of her trendy outfits or latest hit song; she actually has a health lesson to teach some of us.

Pop music sensation and actress Selena Gomez recently cancelled the Eastern Canada and European legs of her world tour, citing health reasons. About a year ago, Gomez revealed she has lupus—a chronic inflammatory condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue and organs—which is likely the cause for the young pop star abandoning her Revival tour. Before we get to what this has to do with you and your health, let’s have a closer look at lupus.

But, What Is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic medical condition that can be very detrimental on its own. This is because it leads to inflammation in the joints, kidneys, blood cells, lungs, brain, and skin; however, lupus can also trigger peripheral issues like anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

Gomez recently opened up about her battles with panic attacks, anxiety, and depression and stated that they were likely a side effect of lupus.

It can be very difficult to be hopeful when you’re suffering from a chronic medical condition like lupus or cancer. Furthermore, if there are physical attributes that are easily visible to others—like inflamed skin and joints—it can lead to even more self-consciousness. This is ultimately the perfect storm for anxiety and depression, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of any possible side effects caused by medication.

Electing to slow down and take care of herself was a wise decision for Selena Gomez. She recognized that she had some problems that needed addressing and decided to handle them head-on instead of allowing it to worsen.

So, What Can You Do?

If you’re suffering from a physical chronic health condition that’s resulting in mental health issues, there are a few things you can do.

Accept It

It’s normal to go on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster after diagnosis. If you’re having trouble coping right off the bat, recognize it and know that it’s normal.

Confront It

When you accept a condition as fate, it’s likely to wear away at your mental health more than if you confront and work against the condition.

This means working hard at treatment, staying active and engaged with your support system, and believing you can beat it.

One of the best ways to do this is to come up with questions to ask your doctor about how you can best deal with the condition. The more you know about it, the better.

Avoid Isolation

It’s best to stay engaged with friends and family, and ask your doctor about support groups in your area. Talking to people—especially those who can relate to what you’re going through—can be very therapeutic and keep you from experiencing depression.

Keep Living

Although it might be hard to perform some tasks, keep doing your best to live life normally. This can be great for self-confidence and be a reminder that you’ve got your condition in check!

Sources for Today’s Article:

Goldberg, J., “Dealing with chronic illness and depression,” Web MD, February 8, 2014; http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/chronic-illnesses-depression?page=2, last accessed August 31, 2016.

“Coping with a diagnosis of a chronic illness,” American Psychological Association, August 2013; http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/chronic-illness.aspx, last accessed August 31, 2016.

Ginsberg, G., “Selena Gomez ‘Revival’ European Tour Officially Cancelled — See Her Message To Fans” Hollywood life, August 31, 2016; http://hollywoodlife.com/2016/08/31/selena-gomez-cancels-tour-european-dates-taking-time-off/, last accessed August 31, 2016.