"I kind of wish numbers didn't exist sometimes, because I feel like I'm 15 some days, and then other days I wake up and I'm 40," the "Fetish" singer tells InStyle's editor in chief Laura Brown in the September issue, on stands Aug. 11. "It's so weird, how one year can change everything. Last year I canceled my tour and went away for 90 days, and it was the best thing that I ever could've done. I had no phone, nothing, and I was scared. But it was amazing, and I learned a lot. Everything I cared about, I stopped caring about. I came out, and it felt like, 'OK, I can only go forward.' And there are still days. I go to therapy. I believe in that and talking about where you are. But I'm in a really, really healthy place."
Indeed, a year ago, Gomez canceled the Revival World Tour and took 90 days off to be "proactive" about treating the side effects of lupus, which can include anxiety, depression and panic attacks. After seeking treatment, she returned to the red carpet in November. "I was in the countryside and never did my hair; I took part in equine therapy, which is so beautiful. And it was hard, obviously. But I knew what my heart was saying, and I thought, 'OK, I think this has helped me become stronger for other people,'" she recalls. "When I came out, I was asked to go to the American Music Awards, and everyone around me was like, 'Do whatever makes you comfortable.' I didn't want my fans to have a negative view of taking care of yourself, so I just went in head-on, and I'll tell you, the first time stepping on that carpet was so overwhelming. I felt like my back was sweating."