Demi Lovato Describes Her "Year of Growth" in Powerful Essay

In a personal essay for Vogue, Demi Lovato opened up about her advocacy work for mental health and racial injustice during a global pandemic.

By Mike Vulpo Sep 01, 2020 7:33 PMTags
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Demi Lovato knows 2020 has not been an easy year.

Between the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustices making front-page news, the singer has felt so much uncertainly about the world around her.

But in a personal essay for Vogue published on Sept. 1, Demi opened up about her mental health and using her voice to prove Americans are not alone in their battles.

"Depression and mental illness are part of my history, and because of all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, my anxiety skyrocketed," Demi wrote. "I was suddenly confronted 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?' Everything was so suddenly out of my control and not just for me individually, but for us as a global community."

One major change in her anxiety was how difficult it was to go to sleep at night. With help from her fiancé Max Ehrich, however, Demi was able to start new habits like meditation, yoga, journaling and painting while also incorporating a nighttime ritual with candles and essential oils.

Stars Who Speak Out on Mental Health

"One positive thing about the pandemic is that it has shone a spotlight on mental health in a way like never before," Demi argued. "For so many years, mental illness was seen as shameful. I certainly felt ashamed; I 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."

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"The more we're learning about it now, however, the better we're able to manage it as a public health crisis," the "Sorry Not Sorry" singer continued. "Education and the language we use around mental wellness is crucial."

While reflecting on all that has happened in 2020, Demi shared it feels like "we're experiencing a moment of change."

At the same time, the 28-year-old said it has never been more important to spread awareness "about issues that matter." One of those topics is racial injustices in America.

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While Demi said she was unable to attend Black Lives Matter protests because she falls in the "at risk" category for COVID-19 with her asthma, the singer has been spreading awareness on her social media. Her Instagram alone has more than 92 million followers.

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"I've always taken my advocacy work seriously, but now I'm looking at it with renewed focus," she wrote. "In this particular instance, what motivated me was knowing how much of myself comes from Black culture. I grew up listening to Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and other soulful singers, but those two Black women in particular shaped me into the vocalist I am. If you look at my life, everything that I have—money, success, a roof over my head—it's because of the inspiration those Black women gave me. I continue to be constantly inspired by people of color today."

Demi continued, "So here I am, sitting in a home that I was able to afford with the money that I have from singing, while people of color are fearing for their lives every day. I realized this was a lightning bolt jolting through my body, where I was reminded of my privilege. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to help spread awareness about this injustice, so I began posting things that I thought would educate people."

While Demi admitted that she doesn't have all the answers, the singer advocated for feeling hopeful about what's to come. Ultimately, the power lies in each and every American.

"Nobody's had a perfect 2020," Demi explained when reflecting on her "year of growth" in a new decade. "Far from it. What we all need to realize, though, is that it's OK for things not to be OK sometimes," she wrote. "Personally, I've experienced extreme highs and lows. I met my fiancé in March and I fell in love with him…But I've also lost several people this year, which was tough." 

"I want to continue to strive to be a better person," Demi continued. "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. There are a lot of things that need to be done before that, but together I believe we can make it happen. You just need to be a little bit hopeful."