Selena Gomez is opening up about the sense of relief she felt upon learning she'd been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
The "Lose You to Love Me" singer, 29, graced the cover of ELLE's September issue, and frankly discussed the state of her mental health — including her bipolar disorder, which she first revealed last year.
"I felt a huge weight lifted off me when I found out," she said. "I could take a deep breath and go, 'Okay, that explains so much.'"
Amid a tumultuous stretch that also included a 2014 lupus diagnosis, a kidney transplant, chemotherapy and public heartbreak, Gomez told ELLE that it was her desire to help others that allowed her to keep her strength.
"There were all things that honestly should have taken me down," she said. "Every time I went through something, I was like, 'What else? What else am I going to have to deal with?'"
To power through, Gomez said she told herself, "You're going to help people," and that that sentiment was "really what kept me going."
"There could have been a time when I wasn't strong enough, and would have done something to hurt myself," she added.
The star — who will next appear in the Hulu comedy Only Murders in the Building alongside Steve Martin and Martin Short — has long been open about her battles with anxiety and depression, and revealed her bipolar diagnosis in April 2020 during an episode of Miley Cyrus' Instagram Live show Bright Minded.
"Recently I went to one of the best mental hospitals in America, McLean Hospital, and I discussed that, after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar," she said at the time. "And so when I go to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn't scare me once I know it… I wanted to know everything about it, and it took the fear away."
Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that "causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks," according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Gomez said in recent years, keeping off social media and the negativity that comes with it has helped quell her anxiety, and that she ceded her passwords to her assistant in 2017 and hasn't looked back.
"I'm like, 'I've got to do something [more]. After I'm gone, I want people to remember me for my heart," she told ELLE. "This tiny little phone that had 150 million people on it – I just put it down. That was such a relief for me."
She has also made a push to support mental health causes, and recently launched the Rare Impact Fund along with her cosmetics line Rare Beauty, which is aiming to raise $100 million over the next 10 years to connect people in underserved communities with mental health services.
"I've been a champion for mental health for numerous years and talked very openly about my experiences," she told PEOPLE in December. "I want so much change in that space, and I wanted people of all ages to understand that the mind isn't simple."