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How Demi Lovato's Documentary 'Stay Strong' Encouraged Me to Share My Story

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To a lot of people, mental illness is a topic that is shied away from. Because of this, I’ve been asked why I share my story of depression, anxiety and all of its other moving parts. 

I remember the exact moment I knew something was wrong with me. The moment I knew I wasn’t happy and my mind and body weren’t healthy. I had recently fallen in love with Demi Lovato. Her music and story of mental illness and recovery started to really resonate with me, but I couldn’t figure out why. Then I watched her documentary, “Stay Strong” on MTV. The months leading up to this viewing, I constantly felt “crazy.” I was extremely depressed and anxious, but mental illness wasn’t something people around me openly talked about. So I assumed I was overthinking things or making up the way I felt in my head. Then I watched “Stay Strong.” Demi talked about her bipolar disorder, eating disorder, self-harm addiction and anxiety. There were a concerning amount of things that made sense to me while watching it. Then it clicked in my head that I wasn’t OK. What I was feeling meant I wasn’t OK and because of that, neither was the way I was treating my mind and body.

I want to talk about my depression and anxiety. I want to talk about how disordered my eating was, how I worked out too much and how I struggled with insomnia. I want to talk about losing control and fighting to get it back. I want to talk about a million different things, not because I want pity or attention. I don’t pity myself and I don’t want anyone else to either. I want to be the one to get this conversation started. I get so emotional when I think about all the people who are struggling right now. Despite the negative things people have and will say about me, if I can share my story with enough of the world, then maybe it will make a difference to one person and start a chain reaction. I believe me opening myself up to the world, is worth it if someone can get help because of it.

I was at war with my thoughts, I wasn’t treating my body with love and I constantly lived in fear of losing control. But in reality, I wasn’t in control at all. I don’t know how I would have turned out if I didn’t have that wake up call (I’ll be honest and say there was a series of “wake up” calls). I share my story because I want to educate people who are unaware and to let everyone know recovery is possible and you aren’t alone. You are worth more than your addiction. You are worth more than your illness. You deserve recovery and you deserve to live a happy and healthy life. You don’t have to live in fear. 

As Demi said in her documentary, “I didn’t come here to tell you my sob story. I came here to tell you it gets easier. I needed someone to tell me that… I want you guys to live in freedom so badly, because it’s so worth it.”

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Photo via Demi Lovato Facebook page.

Originally published: July 3, 2017
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