Ariana Grande just opened up about her mental health in an honest Instagram post, and fans are appreciating the singer's willingness to share her experience. On Thursday, Grande posted an image of a "healthy brain" scan on Instagram Story, along with an example of a brain scan from someone with PTSD, aka post-traumatic stress disorder. Then Grande shared photos from a scan of her own brain, which appeared to show even more highlighted sections than the example of a brain with PTSD in the first photo.
UPDATE: On Friday, a day after sharing the brain scan images, Grande posted another message on Instagram Story saying she "didn't mean to startle anyone." The message read in full:
"didn't mean to startle anyone with my brain thingy. i found it informative and interesting and wanted to encourage y'all to make sure you check on your brains / listen to your bodies / take care of yourselves too. i love science and seeing the physical reality of what's going on in there was incredible to me. i mean i feel it all the time, but seeing it is totally different and super cool. someday, when i'm feeling ready or when i'm more healed up, we can talk about it. i am constantly working on my health / learning how to process pain (aren't we all). everyday is just different but i'm doing my best. just know i will continue showing up and giving as much of my energy as i can and do my best even tho my brain looks like the world map. (that's why her hairs so big it's full of trauma..... k ariana, log off) love u."
EARLIER: A study published by the Neuroimaging Clinics of North America in November 2007 explained that the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex are all brain areas that can be affected by PTSD. Grande's photo appears to show the abnormalities in her own brain, presumably affecting those three areas.
Therapy and medications can be used to help treat PTSD and the stress it puts on the brain, the Neuroimaging Clinics of North America study explained. Grande didn't share when her brain scan was taken, but it definitely shows that she's been through a lot. She's addressed her mental health in the past, though, including when she tweeted in November that "therapy has saved my life so many times."
"Hilarious and terrifying," Grande wrote about the brain images she posted to Instagram Story, which were screenshotted from a text convo. "Not a joke," the singer added at the bottom of the picture.
As fans know, a bombing at Grande's Manchester Arena concert in 2017 left 22 people dead. The singer didn't mention the Manchester bombing in her post, but many people are connecting the brain scan photo with the tragic incident. Plus, Grande shared that she suffered from PTSD after the attack during an interview with British Vogue last year.
"It's hard to talk about because so many people have suffered such severe, tremendous loss. But, yeah, it's a real thing," Grande said to the magazine. "I know those families and my fans, and everyone there experienced a tremendous amount of it as well. Time is the biggest thing. I feel like I shouldn't even be talking about my own experience — like I shouldn't even say anything. I don't think I'll ever know how to talk about it and not cry."
During the British Vogue interview, Grande also talked about throwing herself into her work to help alleviate her anxiety. "I've always had anxiety. I've never really spoken about it because I thought everyone had it, but when I got home from tour it was the most severe I think it's ever been," she told the magazine. "Everybody thought I was crazy when I got home and wanted to hit the ground running."
After Grande's recent Instagram Story post, fans chimed in to share their concern for the singer's well-being, along with plenty of support for her. "I just wanna hug her and tell her everything will be alright," one fan tweeted.
Some fans even encouraged the singer to take a break from singing if she needs one. One fan called Grande "the most strongest inspiring person i know," while suggesting she takes any time she needs for herself.
It's understandable that fans are worried about the pop star overworking herself, but it also sounds like making music is her way of healing. Last month, Grande tweeted that releasing new music "feels sm healthier & sm more authentic & rewarding." The Manchester tragedy will always be a part of her experience, but Grande is persevering through the pain, with the support of her fans every step of the way.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.