This is a letter addressed to Demi Lovato, but it’s for anyone struggling with addictive and or self-destructive habits and behaviors. To listen to this letter/watch the open letter video, click here.
Dear Demi Lovato,
You don’t know me and I don’t know you. In many ways, I feel like I do sometimes, but I know I only know what you let the world see. It’s likely that I will never know you, but please know that whether I will or won’t ever know you, I will always love you. You are loved by so many wonderful people. Your friends and family. Most, if not all of your coworkers. Your fans–the Lovatics. We all love you. More importantly, God loves you.
I know you grew up in the church. Or at least you used to say you did when you were a young Disney star. I know that at some point, whether you do now or not, you claimed to be a Christian. As I am neither you nor God, I can’t know if you are or are not a Christian. I do know that you believe in God and often credit Him for your successes. I also know that you know how easy it is to struggle with faith and God when you keep falling into the same traps and or have countless struggles hurled your way all at the same time.
I’m sure you also know how it feels to feel like God is abandoning or ignoring you in your time of need. It sucks. If you truly believe in Him, as it seems you do, then somewhere in your heart and mind, you know that’s not the case. You know God does not leave or forsake His children. You know that He hears your every prayer. Yet, you still feel like He has, even though you know He hasn’t.
That’s what causes and results from addictive and self-destructive habits. You feel isolated and alone. You feel like no one cares, like no one sees you, and like no one understands. To a certain extent, no one does. Every struggle is unique and every story is new, but you’re never alone. Somewhere deep inside you, you know that, even in the struggle, but it’s hard to believe it because you can’t see the light. All you can see is darkness. And it’s even worse when you’ve come out of the darkness only to see and follow the shadows again. Even through healing, the pain never fully goes away. There’s always an ache and there are always scars. There’s always another wrong move, another misstep, and another challenge threatening to push you back over the edge. Just when you think you’ll stay strong and keep fighting, something jumps out at you and threatens to turn out the lights. I know this, because I’ve been there. I’ve never struggled with addiction to drugs or alcohol, but I have been addicted to self-destructive thoughts and habits.
When I was 17, though it really started long before that, I struggled with thoughts of self-destruction. I considered and nearly tried self-destructive eating habits. I considered and sometimes tried self-destructive workout habits. What stuck was self-harm. In the darkest and lowest point of my life, I gave into self-mutilation and injury. I entertained the thoughts of death, major self-harm, and disappearance. I was depressed, anxious, and in loathe with myself. I hated myself and everything about me. I felt alone, unseen, and unheard by God, by my family, by my friends–even though I felt like I didn’t have any friends–and by everyone else around me. It was exhausting, heartbreaking, and draining. Then, I slowly started to see the Light through various people, various works of art, and various other things.
In my darkest times, “Open” from your EP became my anthem, because “I felt like I was screaming my mouth shut when it was really open.” As time progressed, “Believe In Me,” “Skyscraper,” “Unbroken,” “Firestarter,” and nearly every other one of your songs–and several other songs–became my anthems. I wanted to be like you. I wanted to be strong and beautiful and successful. When I felt like I would never be like you, MTV aired your special, “Staying Strong.” Then, I saw that I was like you, but not in the ways I wanted to be. We were both struggling with self-harm, depression, and general self-hate. You were struggling with other things too… some things I had thought about at one time or another. At that moment, I was afraid to be like you, but more than anything, I still wanted to be like you. I was afraid of becoming so much like you, that I’d have to go to rehab. Though I was proud of you for going, I didn’t want to go. I did, however, want to be like you in the sense that you shared your struggles, you confessed you needed help, and you reached out for assistance. I wanted to do that too, so I did.
First, I kept my struggles to myself. I prayed a lot and I did everything I could to stop hurting myself. It was surprisingly easy to stop physically hurting myself, but it was a lot harder to stop mentally and emotionally hurting myself. I prayed a lot, found refuge in music, and clung to stories and testimonies of female celebrities who had fought battles and won or were fighting battles and trying to win. You, Demi Lovato, were one of those people. When I was in my darkest days, God used you, your music, and your transparency to lift me out of my lowest point and raise me to a place of healing and restoration.
I hope now, as I write this letter, if you ever read it, that you might find healing and restoration through my prayers and the prayers of others. I hope that this battle will lead you to God in a way you’ve never seen Him before and that He will heal you totally and completely. I pray that not only will you finally overcome the addiction and temptation, but also that the temptation will go away altogether. I know that’s a big ask. I know scars and aches don’t often go away. I know that temptation is always creeping at your door, waiting for you to be weak. I do get it, maybe not in the same way, but I do understand. If I’m honest, then I must confess I was tempted to give in to the darkness a few days ago. Not only was I tempted to drown myself in drink–just this once–but worse than that, because that’s not my personal demon, I was also tempted to hurt myself again–just this once. Just to make the pain go away. Just to feel something other than the stress and looming depression. I didn’t, but I almost did, and I think that scares me more than if I had done it.
Anyway, I’m praying for you, Demi Lovato. I’m fighting for you through prayer and supplication. I am thanking God for you and your life. And I’m praying for His miraculous healing over you. I believe He can heal you, but sometimes He only heals us if we believe for ourselves that He will. Please believe Demi. Please believe that He can and will heal you. Please believe and remember that no matter what you feel, you are never alone. Please know and believe that your true friends, your true family, and your true fans–the Lovatics–are always here for you in spirit and prayer with support and love. Please stay strong and when you can’t, let us stay strong for you! ❤
A fan. A friend. And a supporter.