Lovato Is Giving Us a Rare Glimpse of Realness

She's providing a realistic view of mental illness and addiction: Jean Hannah Edelstein
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2018 1:15 PM CDT
Updated Jul 29, 2018 4:30 PM CDT
Lovato Is Giving Us a Rare Glimpse of Realness
In this May 20, 2018 file photo, Demi Lovato arrives at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Demi Lovato's openness about her struggles is more than just celebrity fodder—it's a "gift to many people who have experienced similar illnesses," writes Jean Hannah Edelstein at the Guardian. The singer, hospitalized this week after an apparent overdose, has shared her list of diagnoses since releasing her first album 10 years ago: "depression, addiction, disordered eating and bipolar disorder," per Edelstein. Lovato has also gone in and out of rehab, used cocaine, faked drug tests, and destroyed her cellphone so she couldn't reach drug dealers. While the former Disney star's back-and-forth "between great success and terrible struggles may seem surprising," Edelstein says it's "far more realistic than the highly controlled stories that many public figures have to offer."

Most public figures will say they've overcome addiction and mental illness. But Lovato's "recurrent illness is a more accurate reflection of the reality for many: sometimes treatment works and sometimes new treatment is needed," writes Edelstein, who says many will struggle to stick with health regimens or face unexpected problems requiring new coping skills. In Lovato's case, she was open about losing her sobriety in her latest single, "Sober": "I'm sorry that I'm here again," she sings. "I promise I'll get help / It wasn't my intention / I'm sorry to myself." Edelstein says it's not her fault: "People struggling with mental illness and addiction require empathy, even if they never achieve the kind of recovery that resembles a conclusion." (Luckily, Lovato was "awake and talking" in the hospital.)

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