In July 2018, Demi Lovato experienced a near-fatal overdose. The news shocked her fans because she had been sober for over five years at that point and seemed to be on a better track.
A year-and-a-half later, Demi took the stage at the 2020 Grammy Awards and sang her new single, “Anyone”. The emotional ballad would send chills up the spine of even Demi’s toughest critic. But what’s even more heartwrenching than the song itself is the fact that she wrote and recorded the song only four days before her overdose.
The song’s lyrics are, in hindsight, clearly a cry for help.
I tried to talk to my piano / I tried to talk to my guitar
Talk to my imagination / Confided in alcohol
I tried and tried and tried some more
Told secrets ’til my voice was sore
Tired of empty conversation / ‘Cause no one hears me anymore
As the song goes on, Demi sings about trying to pray and losing her faith, of desperately needing some affection, of begging anyone to hear her. She says, over and over “anyone, I need anyone.”
Upon hearing the song, those close to Demi must be filled with guilt knowing that they missed such obvious signs of her spiral. But perhaps it wasn’t so obvious.
That’s the thing about someone struggling with mental health, sometimes what feels like a cry for help to them, only comes across as a whisper to their loved ones.
In her interview with Zane Lowe prior to the performance, Demi said,
“I was recording [the song] in a state of mind where I felt like I was OK, but clearly I wasn’t”.
Even she didn’t realize she needed help until it was too late.
“Anyone” should not serve as a reason to judge the people in Demi’s life, but rather as a reminder to check in on the people in your own.
Look beyond the surface of the people you love. The friend who is suddenly skipping out on social events may actually be withdrawing, the new mom who doesn’t answer texts might be suffering from a postpartum mood disorder, and the family member who is suddenly down to party all the time could be using substances as a way to numb.
The heartbreaking ballad is a byproduct of the pain Demi was feeling in the days leading up to her overdose. What if someone had simply asked her how she really was? Would those next few days have been different?
Check on your people so you hopefully don’t ever have to ask yourself those kinds of questions.