Dove Cameron is looking inwards as she embarks on a journey to "unlearn self abuse and hatred."
In an Instagram post on May 18, the Descendants star candidly shared she's "been struggling lately with the concept of self, my inner relationship to who I know myself to be and my outer perceivable self who I feel I have never known but other people seem to." Alongside photos of her tearful reflection in a mirror, she wrote in a lengthy note, "I've been crying a lot lately, sometimes terrorized by my identity and image, sometimes in absolute flow with something new and peripheral and joyous to me."
Explaining how she's been "covering mirrors" and "feeling wrong in clothing that used to make me feel beautiful" lately, Dove—who previously came out as queer—went on to say that "sexuality and performative gender norms, societal rewards and identity are really throwing me for a loop."
She feels that social media, mirrors, branding and other ways of "broadcasting" our lives for others to see is "not optimal for mental health, clarity of energy or relationship to our inner world," she continued. "This is a modern problem not designed with human health in mind."
Admitting that she's "struggling more than half of the time" and "don't have answers from myself yet," the 26-year-old actress explained that she decided to publicly speak out about her emotional turmoil as a way to "maintain a quiet non judgmental curiosity rather than punish myself for not knowing what I'm feeling or where I'm going."
She added, "We all deserve a life unburdened by the societally created identity, we all deserve to unlearn self abuse and hatred. I am on that journey now, and I'm sharing so that we may all feel more comfortable in a conversation that may be confusing, and we may navigate something that feels difficult to put to words, together."
In the caption of her post, Dove went further into feelings of "depression & dysphoria," writing that "for me, identity and the self have always been diametrically opposed, and there has only ever been room for one at a time to occupy my life."
In fact, she said she often feels "pulled towards no identity at all." But she's come to learn that she's not alone: The "Boyfriend" singer added, "the longer i'm alive, the more i realize these inner dialogues are actually pretty universal."
Also including a photo of herself tearfully laughing in the mirror, Dove wrote that she is "beginning to have a hope" that her fame and social media platform (which has been so "difficult" for her to embrace) "can actually be the conduit to gorgeous change and mutual support, exploration and safety."
"maybe the spaces that are the least human can become the most human, if we want that," she concluded, "and maybe we can all take up a little more space."