Demi Lovato: “There wasn’t anything wrong with me. I just had a mental illness”


As Demi Lovato’s official website says about hers, she “is a Grammy nominated and multi-platinum singer, songwriter, actress, advocate, philanthropist, and business woman. In addition, she’s one of the biggest names on social media, with an engaged combined following of over 145 million.”

demi lovato

Demi Lovato, the singer of hit songs such as “Heart Attack” and “Skyscraper”, began her career in 2002 on a children’s television series and rose to prominence in 2008 portraying Mitchie Torres in the musical television film Camp Rock, and its sequel in 2010. Lovato has released six studio albums, all of which debuted in the top five of the Billboard200. Seven of her tracks featured in the top-20 on the Billboard Hot 100. With over two million albums and 20 million singles sold in the United States, she is certainly a star to reckon with.

She has won several awards for her music, including an MTV Video Music Award, 14 Teen Choice Awards and two Grammy nominations.  She is also an advocate for various social causes. Before you go all envious, there is a downside to her life which puts all her achievements in stark contrast.

In the MTV documentary on her titled “Stay Strong”, which aired in 2012, she admitted for the first time in public that she had these symptoms: “I didn’t really realize I was sick. I thought that writing seven songs in one night was normal. I thought that staying up until 5:30 in the morning is normal. Last night, I stayed up until five in the morning. I just couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing and it’s an ongoing thing and I still learn how to cope with it.”

Her philosophy was one of “Why not air all my secrets? Why not share my story because some people need to hear it? You know, I speak about a lot of serious issues, and I really hope to get awareness out there about the issues that I dealt with.” It is highly commendable that Lovato chose to share her story, which is bound to inspire and help others dealing with similar issues.

Demi Lovato was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011 as an inpatient at Timberline Knolls in Illinois after years of struggling with bulimia, self-harm, and drug addiction. It was on the insistence of her family that she decided to seek treatment. While at the treatment facility, she thought that it was “the end of my life.” But, as she put it, “I worked harder in those three months than I ever did in my life…. It was a battle, but I stuck it out.” Lovato had a hard time accepting her diagnosis thinking “There’s always someone sicker than you.”

Demi was relieved when she finally got the diagnosis, after being told for years that she was depressed. She says, “I went into treatment and I was able to work with incredible doctors who helped me figure out that I was, in fact, bipolar. It was a great feeling to find out that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I just had a mental illness.”

She is the spokesperson for a new campaign called Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health. The initiative encourages people with mental illness to speak up, as well as for others to raise their voices to change the way mental illness is talked about and break down the stigma surrounding it. “[Mental health advocacy] is a passion of mine and I’ve decided to partner up with Be Vocal because it’s something that’s really powerful when it comes to not only informing people about what mental illness is, but also what you can do to get help,” Demi told an online women’s health magazine.

But, it was not smooth sailing for Lovato after discharge from Timberline Knolls. Her treatment at Timberline Knolls was not entirely successful, and she still struggled with alcoholism and cocaine addiction even during the making of that 2012 MTV documentary on her. She stated: “I wasn’t working my program. I wasn’t ready to get sober. I was sneaking it on planes, sneaking it in bathrooms, sneaking it throughout the night. Nobody knew.”

When her management team wanted to leave her, Lovato agreed to resume treatment and counseling for her addictions. She moved to a sober-living facility in Los Angeles with roommates and responsibilities to help her overcome her drug and alcohol problems.

In June 2018, Lovato released “Sober” in which she revealed she had relapsed after six years of sobriety. In July 2018, she was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital due to an opioid overdose. After two weeks of hospitalization, she entered an in-patient rehab facility. 

In December 2018, Lovato addressed her fans thus on Twitter: “If I feel like the world needs to know something, I will tell them MYSELF. All my fans need to know is I’m working hard on myself, I’m happy and clean and I’m SO grateful for their support.” She went on to add that some day she will “tell the world what exactly happened, why it happened and what my life is like today… but until I’m ready to share that with people please stop prying and making up shit that you know nothing about. I still need space and time to heal.”

Lovato says living with bipolar disorder is a “work in progress” that’s happening with the support of her family and friends, along with a treatment team. She feels that she is now in control of her whole life, although her life is still a daily struggle. Lovato signs off saying that she wants women to know that “it’s possible to live well, feel well, and also find happiness with bipolar disorder or any other mental illness they’re struggling with.”


Demi Lovato: “There wasn’t anything wrong with me. I just had a mental illness”
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Demi Lovato: “There wasn’t anything wrong with me. I just had a mental illness”
Demi Lovato was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011 after years of struggling with bulimia, self-harm, and drug addiction.
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