In our sixth month of this global pandemic, Demi Lovato sat town to write a deeply personal letter for Vogue reflecting on where she was mentally before and after it all went down.
As she recalled, six month ago, “I had just performed at the Super Bowl and the GRAMMYs, released a new single and had another single coming out a month later with Sam Smith. I felt secure in my career and had been prepared mentally to crush it.” However, as everything came to a halt, it left Demi lost in her thoughts and feeling “adrift.”
“Depression and mental illness are part of my history," she divulged, “and because of all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, my anxiety skyrocketed.” Adding that she suddenly came face to face with all these questions, “when are we going to go back to work?” “Are more people going to have to die?” “How bad is this going to get?” Demi, continued, “everything was so suddenly out of my control and not just for me individually, but for us as a global community. It was — and remains — a truly unprecedented time in history.”
Demi confessed that her uncertainty and doubt forced her to “stop and think,” which led her to come to terms with the following. “As a society, we’ve become used to a particular mentality, one where we feel we must get ahead and be the best all of the time. It’s exhausting.” Noting that when the pandemic arose and people were forced to stop and presumably think. In her case instead of the aforementioned anxiety ridden questions, this time she internally proposed questions that you guessed it, had a bit more thought.
Questions like, “What’s important to me?” “What's going to get me through this?” “How can I remain positive?” Demi knew she wanted to come out of this having learnt something “that could actually better my life, my mental health and my emotional well-being in the long term.”
While at first resistant, the GRAMMY-winning singer credits her fiancé Max Ehrich and his positivity as big reason she shifted her way thinking and doing. “I just started picking up on the things he does. I started meditating and doing yoga. I started journaling, painting, taking pictures and being creative, and learning to appreciate nature, after realizing I’d been taking it for granted all this time.”
Demi admitted to having issues falling asleep, which is very common for individuals who suffer with anxiety. Her fix was to start the habit of doing a nighttime ritual, “now I light my candles, put on an affirmation meditation tape, I stretch and I have essential oils. Finally, I’m able to fall asleep easily.” With that said, no two individuals are the same, and Demi admitted that “my experience isn’t an exception.” Adding, “everybody knows someone with a mental illness of some sort, if they haven’t dealt with it themselves. One positive thing about the pandemic is that it has shone a spotlight on mental health in a way like never before.”
Demi expressed that when it came to issues with mental health she, “was made to feel ashamed. This comes from ignorance. People just didn’t understand what it was, people were scared of words such as anxiety and depression.” However as the topic is no longer shunned and people start to have conversations about mental health and wellness, the tide has slowly shifted. And while we still have a long way to go, as far as the normalization of such issues, Demi seems optimistic.
"The more we’re learning about it now… the better we’re able to manage it as a public health crisis. Education and the language we use around mental wellness is crucial.” Demi closes out her thoughts with the following, “Moving forward, I want to put my energy into my music and my advocacy work. I want to continue to strive to be a better person. I want to inspire people in many different ways to do the same. Above all, I want to leave the world a better place than when I got here.”
Read Demi’s entire personally penned letter for Vogue here.
RADIO.COM’s I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.