Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Demi Lovato - A Real Teenage Role Model

Until November of last year the name Demi Lovato meant nothing to me so when I read in the news of this 18 year old girl who had entered treatment for self-esteem issues that included an eating disorder and cutting, I wanted to know more.  It was at this point that I discovered that she was one of the Disney kids from the Camp Rock movies, I'd only heard of these movies because of my 5 year old niece Kady, she loves all that High School Musical/Camp Rock stuff.  So anyhoo, I found out that alongside the Camp Rock movies she was also a singer who at the time of her public breakdown, was on tour with the Jonas Brothers, now I'd heard their names before but had no idea who they were!  It turns out that Demi had at the time just been dumped by one of them, Joe I think his name was...and then in true classy style, Joe had pretty much instantly started going out with Ashley Greene from Twilight.  Now this sort of situation would be awkward for anyone, could you imagine the love of your life breaking up with you, whilst you were working shockingly close to one and other, and then he starts dating someone else.  It would be horrific.  However add to that the fact that this relationship was highly public and all the trashy magazines and tabloids were keeping tabs on it, this is enough to lead anyone to an emotional breakdown.  

Now I personally hate all the sugary sweet Disney nonsense in films such as Camp Rock and High School Musical, my sister Susan loves all this stuff...but we can't all have awesome taste such as myself, haha.  These movies are such an untrue representation of life and it doesn't remotely surprise me that so many Disney kids go a little mad...hell, even watching these movies is enough to drive me all the more insane!  I took a liking to Demi though and really empathised with her.  Her public meltdown which included an altercation on a plane where she lashed out at one of the tours backing dancers, led her to realise just how unwell she had become and she immediately pulled out of the tour to seek treatment.  

Growing up is difficult enough for any teenage girl, but to be in the spotlight, living a lie, it must be an absolute killer.  I hated reading all the comments on the IMDb message boards where people were being complete assholes about this poor girl, basically saying that as she gets paid so much, she deserves this sort of stuff.  I mean what the hell!?!  I took a lot of shit just sticking up for her on these boards and it made me further realise the amount of assholes that are truly out there.    

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much money she gets paid.  When she went into that industry, she was just a kid.  It's the kind of job that many little girls dream of...but with that dream comes a price and Demi most definitely paid it.  At middle school she was bullied by classmates, being the subject of verbal harassment, something that I find to be equally, if not more damaging than physical violence.  

Being in an industry where your body is constantly scrutinized as well, again, this would be hard enough for anyone, but she was just a teenage girl.  I can completely understand why she developed an eating disorder.  It's the same with the cutting...in a world where she is basically dictated what to do on a daily basis and lives under such public scrutiny...both cutting, anorexia and bulimia are forms of control.  It's a way of taking something back and making it your own...it's a fucked up thing to make your own but it's also one of the most personal things a young girl can take control of.  

During her 3 month stay in treatment, she learned that she suffered from bipolar disorder...something that her combined issues most definitely pointed too originally. 

So why do I think this pretty teen is a good role model?  After leaving her 3 month stay in treatment she really opened up in interviews.  She is speaking very candidly about these issues that she hid for a long time, and by doing so she is helping others out there in the same situation.     
"I allow myself a lot of freedom and I'm very peaceful now," she says.  "I have come to realize that just making yourself happy is most important.  Never be ashamed of what you feel.  You have the right to feel any emotion that you want, and to do what makes you happy.  That's my life motto"
When people think of the cliche of teenagers cutting themselves, they think moody goths.  That could not be a more ridiculous statement.  Everyone is vulnerable to forms of self harm, be it drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, cutting, burning, scratching...the list is endless.  Cutting is a way of trying to kill the pain, be it the feel of a blade on the skin, or the relief when the blood trickles down...it is not a healthy mode of expression and the visible scars that you are left with is an everyday reminder of a time you have went through.  Sometimes though, that can be a positive thing, it can be a reminder of a place that you don't want to go back too.  Scars can last for a very long time, trust me.  Sometimes scars that are 10 years old can still look fresh.  Demi has admitted that she started cutting at the age of 11 and the fact that she goes out in public and doesn't try to cover up her scars, that is an incredibly admiral thing. She is dealing with it now...and sharing her pain.  And that just makes me like her all the more!

"It was a way of expressing my own shame, of myself, on my own body, I was matching the inside to the outside. And there were some times where my emotions were just so built up, I didn't know what to do. The only way that I could get instant gratification was through an immediate release on myself."

So out of therapy and getting on with her life, dealing with the body image issues she had before and trying to lead a happy and healthy life...Demi has been doing great!  Which is why when I read that she was getting shit for being "FAT" at the VMA's that I decided to write this blog.  I respect her and it felt like the right time to get my thoughts out there.  I was editor of a mental health newsletter for 2 years and I understand how important it is to let people realise that they are not alone in their struggles.  And FYI, if this is the idea of FAT for her haters then they clearly have serious issues of their own.  There was nothing remotely fat about her, it sickens me to read things like "she should try skipping some meals" and what not!  These people are pathetic, sad little beings.  I loved Demi's reply to them all on her Twitter account

"Guess what, I'm happy and healthy, and if you're hating on my weight you obviously aren't. :) #UNBROKEN

Go, Go Demi!  Stand up to the bullies and keep on staying strong! :)


  1. Thank you, so much! I really appreciate that! :)

  2. Loooove this!!!! Love Demi too and the way you understand what she's been through although you don't even know her =)

    1. Thanks Liza. I really do appreciate your thoughts. :)

  3. Really nice blog! I agree with it all. Ppl calling her fat nowdays?? don't know what is in their heads or the standards of "normal" they have, but im glad she is not taking all that garbage seriously.

    I'm really admire Demi's talent and the way she has handled everything that's happened in her life. Her music helped me a lot when I was going through a major depression 3 yrs ago, and something in her lyrics and singing made me feel that i wasn't alone.

    Seing her overcome so much in spite of the odds continues to inspire me and give me the courage to keep fighting to make all my dreams come true.

    1. Thank you Marissa. :) I'm so glad you were able to overcome your depression, and that her music helped. I thin she's a truly inspirational young woman, and one who seems to get stronger all the time. She takes no shit and she defends those she feels should be stood up for! Go Demi!! <3