I’m a huge fan of Demi Lovato, I have been since the start of the Camp Rock era, aaaaall the way through to this new ‘era'(so-to-say) that she is currently on the brink of. Demi absolutely knocks it out of the park every time she releases something, she is a fantastic vocalist and an ace musician. She is also very honest about her past, and her wellbeing. Which, in my opinion is going above and beyond – Demi was never forced to speak out about her mental illness, she decided to do so herself. And that’s incredibly inspiring.
For most people living with mental illness it is widely known that it can be difficult to speak out about your struggles. What I think people sometimes forget is that Demi did this on a huge scale – for me even speaking to my friends and family at times is terrifying – imagine being Demi and doing that on a world stage.
Not only did Demi speak up about her recovery she opened up about her treatment – allowing MTV to film her visiting the place where she received support – which I can imagine would have been painful for her to return to alone, without camera lenses and crew asking questions. She also allowed MTV to film her while she was in the tight, exhausting, defeating grasp of disordered eating on tour and at family engagements. Demi openly said that although she was in recovery she was still struggling, and most likely will do for the rest of her life. This was something that she did in the very early stages of recovery, since then she has gone on to start the Lovato Treatment Scholarship, she’s launched ‘Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health’, spoken at America’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (SAMHSA), taken part in the Mental Health, Listening & Engagement Tour – kicking off with the JED Foundation, promoting emotional health and preventing suicide, she has also spoke openly for the U.S Department of Health and Human Services about her own recovery and offering hope for others. Demi also spoke at NAMI’s #Act4MentalHealth, and has continued to speak publicly about self-medicating, eating disorder, recover (aka: kicking butt in recovery – check out how hard she has been working!)
In addition to this Demi has written songs such as ‘Warrior’, ‘Shut Up and Love Me,’ ‘Nightingale’, ‘Skyscraper’, ‘For the Love of a Daughter’ and ‘Mistake’ which all draw upon personal experiences – and are very relatable for millions (and I’m not exaggerating here) they are relatable for millions of people across the world. Not only did she record them she performs these songs on tour, on television shows, on radio etc. putting her all into her performances every time. Talk about triggering. Whether or not these songs trigger Demi I have no doubt that she has emotional connections to them in some way, and that must be so exhausting – having to revisit that day in day out. Not only that Demi also gave speeches during her previous tours before singing songs such as Skyscraper and Warrior, which both touched upon mental illness, self-harm, eating disorders, speaking out and more.
In 2011 Demi posted a ‘bikini photo’ of herself, just a short while after leaving treatment. At the time Demi tweeted this:
“I never thought I’d ever feel confident enough to ever to that. I’m excited how far I’ve come since being completely ashamed of my body. I never thought I’d ever feel confident enough to ever to that. I’m excited how far I’ve come since being completely ashamed of my body.”
There was so much praise back in 2011, and if you look at Demi’s career it’s actually taken four years for her to show some skin commercially (I’m not sure how to phrase that ha). Recently Demi has become far more confident with her body image, and she’s been speaking honestly about why she isn’t ashamed of this. And, I 100% agree. After years of battling with the horrendous nature of mental illness, years of dealing with people watching her every move, and growing up in the spotlight – I think Demi has every right to show off her confidence and how far she has come in recovery!
I don’t know Demi but, I reckon body-image and self-confidence is something she may have dealt with her whole life. It has been for me, and I couldn’t imagine having people comment on everything you do, I reckon even people saying how beautiful, how pretty and how perfect she is must have been difficult for her. It’s so difficult to accept compliments, to accept praise when you are in the grips of a mental illness. Even with people praising you – at times when people praise me that actually makes my recovery so much harder as I start to get angry at myself for not seeing what other people see.
Of course I cannot speak for Demi and her experience might not be anything like what I’ve just said, but I personally think it’s incredible that Demi has found her confidence. Why should she be restricted from respecting herself and showing off her hard work?
We don’t ask for mental illness, we don’t ask for crappy things to happen to us, and Demi probably never dreamt of becoming the poster-girl for mental health (which may I add she has done a tremendous job of).
As a fan of Demi, and as a sufferer of mental illness and someone who actively campaigns to challenge the stigma circulating mental health I am incredibly proud of how far Demi has come – it gives me ridiculous amounts of inspiration, hope and motivation for my own recovery.
I have endless Demi quotes saved on my laptop and pinned on Pinterest, I kinda don’t want to share them now just so I have an excuse to write more blogs about Demi in the future (hahaha, #LovaticForever).
Check out one of Demi’s recent, very honest and very open interview about her own experience of mental illness: