Well-Being//

I’ve Seen Demi’s Struggle First-Hand — Here’s What I Want You To Know

"She's shown us her battle scars, and it's only made us love her more."

By now, you’ve probably heard Demi Lovato was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday after an apparent drug overdose. It’s heartbreaking to hear that young, ambitious, talented AF girl — especially one who’s been so open and vulnerable about her struggles — fell off the wagon she’s tried so hard to steer straight for years. And it’s even worse she has to do this with the entire world watching.

I’ve witnessed Demi’s constant struggle with addiction, mental illness, and disordered eating. When I was at Seventeen, I worked with Demi on a cover story as part of her comeback after her first stint in rehab. She was even the face of our Pressure to Be Perfect campaign, which got real about all the ways young women self-sabotage with drinking, drugs, sex, and cutting to alleviate the tension they feel for not measuring up to some imaginary level of perfection and achievement.

We threw a party in honor of her post-rehab cover and though she was all smiles for the paparazzi, she sat quietly next to me at lunch and didn’t eat her food. I got the sense it wasn’t a celebration for her, but an endurance test. I’ve always loved Demi for her candor about her struggle. She’s always shown us her truth, not the squeaky clean, Photoshopped version. She’s shown us her battle scars — and even told us about her relapse with her new song Sober — and it’s only made us love her more.

Even the strongest and most transparent people like Demi aren’t exempt from falling back into old ways. Self-love and recovery are constant battles. I wrote about The Pressure to be Perfect again in The Big Life because so many young women tell me that their self-harming behavior flares up in the pressure cooker of their 20s when the world feels overwhelmingly stacked against them.

But as Demi has done for the past six years — and I believe will continue to do — we got to keep fighting. We need to realize we are valuable and worthy of love, success, and respect just as we are: Not perfect, not even close. Our battle scars shouldn’t be airbrushed but put on display because they are our truth.

There’s so much more to say, about Demi, addiction, and the pressure to be perfect. Let’s talk about it here. But for now, I’m sending good vibes to our sister, Demi, and all the other Badass Babes who feel less than. Because trust me, you are worth your dreams.         

           

If you need help with substance abuse or mental health issues, call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

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