“Anxiety” by Julia Michaels (Ft. Selena Gomez) Lyrics Meaning
“Anxiety” is an introspective track where Julia Michaels sings about her personal mental health issues. She is supported by friend and fellow superstar Selena Gomez, whose own battles with anxiety and depression caused her to seek professional help in the past.
Unfortunately Michaels has been dealing with anxiety matters for almost a decade now. Somewhat ironically they started to manifest at the same time she signed her first publishing contract. The experience has been debilitating, as in it disabled her from performing basic functions like eating and socializing. In fact Michaels has already made these “issues” public before.
Another topic Michaels sets out to tackle in this track is unfulfilled ambitions and indeed being afraid to pursue your own desires. This may be a side effect of the anxiety, but Michaels classifies it as a separate affliction.
Michaels also thought it would be ideal to feature another woman on the track, i.e. Gomez. She felt that this would help strengthen the idea that women should not be ashamed if they are dealing with similar issues. Selena has also acknowledged such and has dedicated “Anxiety” to friends who also face related challenges.
Michaels starts off “Anxiety” by stating that her buddies have conscientiously tried to help her overcome depression by inviting her out. However, she is faced with a perpetual conflict. On one hand, she wants them to leave her alone so that she can be free to wallow in her affliction. On the other, when she decides not to go out, she sits around fantasizing about how much of a fantastic time she could have had if she did. The chorus goes on to elaborate that ultimately her friends don’t understand the inner turmoil she is experiencing.
Then Gomez chimes in. She seems to express two main sentiments. One is the desire to be heard and accepted. And the other is her sympathy for the negative feelings other people may be experiencing.
Despite the fact that both artists acknowledge they’re dealing with anxiety and depression, they have not given in to these afflictions. However, despite their best attempts they cannot eliminate the destructive thoughts plaguing their minds. People recommend remedies to their frustrations, but they don’t understand the complexity of the issues being dealt with. So ultimately, the artists express frustration over friends’ inability to sympathize with what they’re going through.
What Julia Michaels has said about this song
In a 2019 Beats 1 interview, Michaels confirmed the autobiographical nature of the lyrics. According to her, they dealt with things she deals “with on a daily basis”. And one of these things is anxiety. Here is an extract of her interview with Beats 1:
In another interview with Billboard, Michaels shed some more light on the track. According to her, she and Gomez are using the song to tell the world that they have anxiety issues, but are okay with these issues. She even referred to the song as a “female empowerment thing” with a difference.
What Selena Gomez said about “Anxiety”
On her Instagram account, Gomez referred to the song as one very close to her heart. Why? Because not only has she battled with anxiety, she also knows a lot of loved ones who also do.
Below is Gomez’s Instagram post regarding this song:
Facts about “Anxiety”
- Four songwriters, including Julia Michaels and Selena Gomez wrote this song. Ian Kirkpatrick and Scott Harris are the other two writers with writing credits on this track.
- Ian Kirkpatrick, who co-wrote this song, also produced it. He took care of the production solely.
- On January 24, 2019, Michaels’ label Republic Records officially released this song. It is the first track on Michaels’ fourth EP titled Inner Monologue, Pt. 1 – EP.
Is this Julia Michaels’ first time working with Selena Gomez?
Yes. Despite being close friends, Gomez and Michaels had never worked together on a track until this song.