Thank You, Demi Lovato

emilytreadgold #2, Editorial

I love having a share of space on the New Nine Twitter because I see posts I wouldn’t normally see. Today, I saw this:

I’ll be honest; I’m not a huge fan of Demi’s music. I’ve listened to some of her stuff and it’s just not my cup of tea. But millions of people (young girls, especially) seem to flock to her and now I can see why.

I remember back when her eating disorder was a big headline and you couldn’t go to the grocery store or the mall without seeing a tabloid that had her face on it. That was around the time my eating disorder began too, and because she was a celebrity, I was mad at her. I thought “You’re rich and famous. You have everything you could ever want. How dare you pretend like you actually suffer?”

But today, I have a much different attitude. After reading a bit about Demi’s trials, I sit in awe because I truly understand where she’s been and how she’s felt.

I’ve struggled with binge eating and body dysmorphia my whole life, but I didn’t start purging and trying to starve myself until high school. And once you do start, it quickly becomes an addiction. I was obsessed with throwing up. If I didn’t do it after a meal, I felt instantly ashamed. In college I had a personal trainer who was emotionally abusive to me; he called me “morbidly obese” and told me I wasn’t working hard enough in the gym when I weighed 125 lbs and I spent literally 4-6 hours a day working out, on top of being a full-time student with a job.

I imagine what Demi struggles with, being a global icon and having all eyes on her. She’s pressured to look a certain way, and I’m sure that must be really stressful, especially dealing with bipolar disorder on top of everything. With bipolar, it’s impossible to be up every day so I really admire Demi for commending herself on the days when she’s in that mindset.

I, too, have bipolar disorder and, like Demi, I’ve battled with drug addiction and alcoholism. I respect anyone who has admitted they have a problem and decided to walk the long road to recovery. It’s truly a day by day journey. With a little over four years sober, Demi has really made strides in her recovery and it’s obvious through her social media and even her appearance.

So thank you, Demi, for being an inspiration to young girls and telling them that it’s okay to love themselves. I still live with my eating disorder, but I haven’t purged in months and I know that it doesn’t define me. It’s nice to have stars in the spotlight that suffer with real problems, find the solution, and share that with the world.

Today is a great day to be alive, and you matter.

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