Disney star Demi Lovato confronts eating disorder head on
Lovato admits to self-harming, bulimia and opens up about her diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.
By Rebecca Coxon
Revealing your body in a bikini is a daunting task for even the best of us, and for those suffering from eating disorders an often unforeseeable prospect. So it was quite a (pleasant) surprise to learn that 18 year old actress and singer Demi Lovato has done just that, the only difference between her and us is that by doing so she reveals herself to millions, leaving her opens to relentless press and media attention.
The young star who has over 3.1 million followers on twitter, tweeted, ‘I've been working so hard to get healthy and fit.. I can't believe I'm about to do this but I'm so excited.. Here's my bikini time body! ... http://say.ly/kQIkzb’
Demi is most famous for starring as the lead female role in Disney’s Camp Rock opposite the Jonas Brothers, one of whom she also dated until last year.
Not long after her first tweet, Demi bravely admitted, ‘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.’
The news comes soon after Demi admitted her battle with eating disorders, self harming and her recent diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder on the American news and talk show Good Morning America.
Demi explained how her unhealthy relationship with food starting at 8 years old, triggering bulimia, began through childhood bullying:
‘I literally didn’t know why they were being so mean to me and they would just say well you’re fat. And then a few months later I developed an eating disorder’
Demi also admitted that she was only eleven years old when she first started cutting herself.
‘It was a way of expressing my own shame of myself on my own body. There were sometimes where my emotions were just so built up, I didn’t know what to do, the only way I could get instant gratification was through an immediate release on myself.’
Although her self-harming was not suicidal in intent, Demi admits how unconcerned she became about her health and even her own life.
‘I don’t think that I was ever trying to kill myself but I knew that if I’d ever gone too far, that I wouldn’t care.’
Demi soon became overwhelmed with her workload, and increased popularity and media attention- unsurprising when you tally her astounding success and achievements - an actress, singer, songwriter and charity spokesperson, all by the tender age of 18.
However, her deteriorating mental health finally manifested as a reality to herself and those around her when she physically struck one of her backup dancers, who was also one of close friends, while on tour,
‘I was performing my concerts on an empty stomach, I was losing my voice through purging, I literally was so emotionally wacked out. I was self-medicating. I was not taking medication for depression, and I literally was so emotionally whacked-out that I took it out on someone that meant a lot to me."
Demi regrets the incident tremendously and says that she takes ‘one hundred percent full responsibility. The second I came out of my mania and realised what I had done I felt sick.’
This caused her family and friends to intervene and Demi cancelled the remainder of her tour and admitted herself into a women’s only addiction centre for treatment where she received an unexpected diagnosis that she had Bipolar Disorder:
‘I had no idea that I was bipolar until I went into treatment. When I was seven years old I started having actually suicidal thoughts. Looking back I’m like okay that makes sense.’
‘For the first time in my life I started to feel. I was such a humbling experience to not just push your feelings aside and ignore them.’
Demi now has tattoos on her wrists where her scars used to be, that read ‘Stay strong’. She is also clearly taking control of her life and her body, bravely allowing the world to see a photo of her beautifully healthy ‘bikini time body’.
‘I want any girl/guy out there who struggles with body image or confidence to know that it IS possible to find peace with yourself,’ the star tweeted.
But she admits that it has not been a straightforward journey and she is still learning how to commit to her new start in life.
‘It hasn't been easy, but it starts with a commitment to yourself.. Your mind.. And your soul. And trust me, I'm still working at it!’
In collaboration with the Jed Foundation, MTV and Seventeen magazine, Demi is now promoting the ‘Love is louder than the pressure to be perfect’ campaign and we wish her every continuing success with her recovery.