I have thoughts. Questions, really.
Let me say at the outset; I like Demi Lovato. I appreciate her honesty regarding her struggles, especially around her bulimia. That one is kept pretty quiet in the popular press: I’ve long thought it’s because vomit isn’t sexy the way emaciation is.
I keep up with the Demi Lovato stories because I feel a connection. We’re of a type. We have eating disorders, sexual abuse, drug addiction, and compulsive behaviours in common, though I’ve been at it longer. It makes me sad when young members join the club.
The world is pleased with Demi of late. They’re happy she survived, happy she’s sharing her truth and helping others, happy she’s healing. The last one’s a maybe: the world thought she was healing before.
I read Monica Sudakov’s review of Ms. Lovato’s Dancing with the Devil biopic. [i] I enjoyed her discussion about trauma and addiction: I was less pleased with the closing sentiments: “her life itself is [now] a testament to resilience, the capacity to heal from trauma and the power of healthy relationships to that healing journey.” [ii]
That seems like a lot of weight to put on someone’s shoulders. It also seems premature. Are we sure she’s recovered? Are we sure she’s “healed from trauma?” How do we know? Because she said so? I said it lots. That’s the problem with us “addict and eating disorder” types: not only do we lie like dogs, but we’re also good at it. Recovery is rarely “one and done.” But the weight of doing it in front of the world must make things so very much harder.
Fame seems to be very much the cursed blessing.
[ii] The whole quote is as follows: “It’s clear that Demi Lovato’s mission in so openly and honestly sharing her truth is intended to normalize and destigmatize mental health struggles. She has always been an advocate for mental health, but now her life itself is a testament to resilience, the capacity to heal from trauma and the power of healthy relationships to that healing journey.” I agree that her actions in sharing and normalizing mental illness are admirable, but I think what someone does to who they are can be problematic.