Demi Lovato has been an outspoken advocate for mental health issues and overcoming addictions for years. The Disney star has firsthand experience with these hardships and in a recent interview with American Way, she opened up about overcoming these challenges.
“I lived fast and I was going to die young,” Lovato told American Way. “I didn’t think I would make it to 21.”
Lovato talks about her body image being skewed since she was a toddler and even when she was at the height of her career she still dealt with “depression, suicidal thoughts, [and] self-harming impulses.” Lovato didn’t hold back and confessed that by age 12, she was cutting herself and purging in an attempt to achieve the ideal skinny body Hollywood is constantly pushing. Eventually, she landed her breakout role on Disney’s Camp Rock, but the success didn’t help her self-confidence.
The actress ended up resorting to “self-medicating with alcohol, cocaine, and OxyContin.” Like any other teenager, Lovato was dealing with the trials of growing up but unlike others, she was also paying the bills. This combination was chaotic and led her to rebel against her parents.
Lovato’s breaking point happened on tour with the Jonas Brothers, when she punched one of her backup dancers. This was finally when she went to a rehabilitation center to seek help for her bulimia. While she was there, she was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“So now I’m in rehab, and I thought, ‘Oh great, now the world thinks I’m just another stereotype,'” Lovato said. “But once I started eating again, the other issues got worse. It was like whack-a-mole.”
Despite this, Lovato made the decision to to check herself into a sober home for a year. There was able to finally overcome her addictions once and for all. In 2012, she had her last sip of alcohol. Since then, Lovato has become known as one of the celebrities who openly talks about her mental struggles and encourages others to get help like she did.
“I didn’t go into treatment thinking, ‘OK, now I’m going to be an inspiration,'” she recalled. “At times I was resentful for having that kind of responsibility, but now, it’s really become a part of my life. It holds me accountable.”
Demi Lovato knows the importance of speaking out about mental health, its issues and addiction. She acknowledges it’s bigger than herself and it impacts many of her fans. “When I have meet-and-greets, I can’t tell you the amount of times that girls will show me their arms covered in scars or cuts,” she continued.
“They’ll tell me, ‘You helped me get through this. Because of you, I stopped self-harming,’ or ‘I got sober.’ Hearing those things gave my life new meaning.”