Let me start this by saying I fucking love Demi Lovato. Like, L-O-V-E. I think she’s talented as hell and has the voice of an actual angel, but that’s not really why I’m such a big fan. The biggest reason I adore her so very much is that she’s been so fucking real about mental illness, as well as about her struggles with addiction, self-harm, and body image. To be so open about things so incredibly personal and dark and painful and willingly share those battles with the world is, frankly, brave as shit, selfless, and helps commoners like me who also deal with mental illness and similar conditions feel a whole lot less alone. She doesn’t owe us her story, but she chooses to share it and that is something I respect and do not take for granted. Demi is my girl.
Yesterday, reports surfaced that Lovato had been rushed to an LA hospital after an apparent overdose. She is reportedly now “stable.” And thank God. I wish her all the best and will be thinking of her and be praying for her recovery.
However, there’s been a lot of REALLY bad takes surrounding her hospitalization. Mainly, that this is her fault, that she’s a “junkie,” and every other ignorant thing you can think of.
And you know what? Fuck you, guys. Substance use disorders are not a moral failing. It’s not a lack of willpower and it’s no one’s fault who deals.
Where is your compassion? Your understanding? Your support? Your humanity?
It’s these shaming responses to Lovato’s apparent overdose that make me totally understand why people do not seek help. After all, shame is a powerful deterrent, capable of keeping anyone silent and alone. After all, I know shame is what kept me from going back to therapy for my own mental illness. It’s what kept me from taking the medication I desperately needed to stabilize my moods and help me get through the goddamn day. And I didn’t have the constant stream of unsolicited input that someone like Lovato has, being in such a public light and all. I can’t even imagine being in that position dealing with something so personal as substance use and mental illness and then having the world know about it, too.
It’s times like these where we all have a choice. We can judge and point fingers and belittle and shame. Or, we can find our humanity, educate ourselves on the subjects we don’t have a solid understanding of, and figure out how we can make this world a more compassionate place, where people can seek help rather than suffer in silence.
The choice is yours. And I hope you choose wisely.