I continue to be constantly impressed by Demi Lovato, who over and over shows just how brave she is by continuing the conversation surrounding addiction and mental health. After celebrating her sixth sober birthday recently, the Latina star opened up to Dr. Phil about the current state of her addiction and revealed that she had contemplated suicide as early as the age of 7.
The singer has always been incredibly candid about her difficult relationship with her father (who is now deceased), her former drug and alcohol addictions, why food is still an issue for her, and mental health issues in general. It is one of the things that I have personally always admired about her, as a fellow Latina who struggled with addiction issues and mental health. I know personally how difficult it is for Latinos to talk about our mental health, and Demi Lovato is a constant beacon of hope for those that still struggle.
“The very first time that I was suicidal was when I was seven, and I had this fascination with death,” she said in the video. “I have experienced things that I’ve not talked about and that I don’t know if I ever will talk about. But at seven, I knew that if I were to take my own life that the pain would end.” Unfortunately that wasn’t the only time she’d considered suicide and recalled a period in her life where her mother was afraid to wake her up in the morning “because she didn’t know if she’d open the door if [Lovato would] be alive or not.”
The Mexican-American singer also opened up about her continuing struggles with food, which she calls an “everlasting addiction”, saying:
The hard times now I deal with, I think the everlasting addiction has been food. My eating disorder started when I was very young. That’s something that I still work on on a daily basis. It’s kind of the last thing to go. I feel like I’ve conquered my addiction and alcoholism in a way that I don’t even think about it anymore. But my struggles with my food issues are something that I still deal with but I’m growing and I’m in a really good place today.
For anyone who suffers from mental health issues, drug and/or alcohol abuse, an eating disorder, or has had their own suicidal ideation, it is incredible to hear this 25-year-old open up in such a candid way about her life. This is why Lovato remains one of the most outspoken mental health advocates today, such as with her involvement with Be Vocal: Speak Up For Mental Health (a documentary and organization which aims to transform lives by helping people to speak up about mental health).
Her best advice? Find a support system, she told Elle.
“I knew at a young age that some of my behaviors were a problem,” Lovato said. “When I was bulimic, I knew it was a problem. When I was anorexic, I knew it was a problem. But I wasn’t in a place where I could quit by myself.”
It is only when she was able to seek help and get support from her family, friends, and fans that the star was able to recover and go on to celebrate her sixth sober birthday. And although she still struggles, it is important to see her continue to open up and be real about what mental health issues — because talking about it helps us all.