There is more to Dove Cameron than spectacular acting chops and the occasional bounty of racy selfies.
She is a real person, and she has her personal struggles just like anyone else.
Unlike most people, her extremely public role as an actor means that she is scrutinized and visible in ways that few of us can imagine.
In a lengthy post, Dove has poured out her heart about the struggle between identity and the self. It’s a worthy read.
“Identity vs the self !!! depression & dysphoria,” Dove began her insightful Instagram post.
“The self is someone i feel i have always deeply known, someone i deeply love and protect, like my own child,” she expressed.
“I know this self and we are very close,” Dove affirmed.
“For me, identity and the self have always been diametrically opposed,” Dove explained.
“And,” she continued, “there has only ever been room for one at a time to occupy my life.”
“I have never been able to make them hold hands,” Dove characterized.
“And i realize as i get older, its because i hold a deep seeded belief that who i am is wrong,” Dove confessed.
“I am not allowed to be just as i am, i am not meant to be here,” she described.
“I feel i must be something else if i am going to be allowed to be here,” Dove wrote, “and i really do wanna be here with you.”
“More days than not, i feel pulled towards no identity at all,” Dove reflected.
“I feel most natural as something imperceivable to myself, an energy and a presence,” she wrote relatably.
“I don’t know if i will ever be able to live as this,” Dove admitted, “if i will ever find a rhythm in this job where perception is one of the major cornerstones.”
“So far, the self and the identity seem to harm each other, in my personal experience,” Dove observed.
“I’m feeling it out. and if you are too, we can do it together,” she affirmed.
“The longer i’m alive, the more i realize these inner dialogues are actually pretty universal,” Dove noted.
“All that i am truly clear on is that i’m interested in a life unburdened by myself,” Dove explained.
She acknowledged that this is “easier in theory than in practice, but we’re making room.”
“I am beginning to have a hope that the public platform that has been difficult for me to learn to take up space as myself in,” Dove wrote, “can actually be the conduit for change/mutual support/exploration/safety.”
“There is room for us to talk about the things that terrify us/can’t be commoditized on a large scale,” Dove affirmed.
“That can’t be commercialized and easily sound-bitten,” she continued.
“Maybe the spaces that are the least human can become the most human,” Dove suggested.
“If we want that, and we can all let each other take up a little more space,” Dove encouraged. “I love you.”
Dove had more to say, not in her caption, but in additional writing that she screenshot and shared alongside her tearful photos.
She wrote that she had “been struggling lately with the concept of self, my inner relationship to who I know myself to be.”
“And,” she continued, “my outer perceivable self who I feel I have never known but other people seem to.”
Dove admitted to having covered up mirrors and to “feeling wrong in clothing that used to make me feel beautiful.”
She had felt driven to tears and “sometimes terrorized by my identity and image.”
Dove also wrote about struggling with “sexuality and performative gender norms,” an extremely common sentiment given society’s expectations.
Trying to stay on-brand and artificially consistent “is not optimal for mental health,” she noted.
Dove accurately described this as “a modern problem not designed with human health in mind.”
Dove shared that she is “struggling mroe than half of the time” but is determined to go through this process of “investigating” herself.
She is also on a journey of “unlearning self abuse and self hatred.”
Dove seeks to be “unburdened by the societally created identity.”
“I’m trying to maintain a quiet non-judgmental curiosity,” Dove stressed, “rather than punish myself for not knowing what I’m feeling or where I’m going.”
Dove explained that she does not want others to “feel alone” as they examine themselves and their lives as she is doing, but also knows that this struggle is not universal.
“Emotion is COOL. Dysphoria is OK. Living as a human is INTENSE,” Dove affirmed. “Maybe the spaces that are the least human can become the most human, if we want that, and we can all let each other take up a little more space.”