How Demi Lovato Helped Me Deal With My Bipolar Diagnosis

demi lovato
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Hi, my name is Lena and I’m a Lovatic.

Full disclosure: I’m not exactly in Demi’s key demographic. Well, at least not when she first hit the scene.

I was already way too old for both Sonny with a Chance and Camp Rock (yes, I managed to dodge the whole Jonas Brothers thing). And when she transitioned to a full-time musical artist, she was very clearly singing to pre-teens and not to me.

She’s transitioned several times since then. She’s gone mainstream and her risqué, badass persona has made her a force to be reckoned with. And she’s grown up — a lot. But her name still evokes a younger fan base. And although Demi and I are actually the same age (look it up), a lot of folks still find it pretty strange that I’m a fan.

The truth is that Demi is so much more than just a pop star. Any true Lovatic could tell you that. She’s a recovering drug addict, a bipolar warrior, and more importantly, an open book. I’ve never seen another celebrity her age genuinely embrace her story to this magnitude. It’s an inspiration to watch. Girls are so inspired by her that they start hysterically crying just at the sight of her (a drama usually reserved for the likes of Justin Bieber and One Direction).

All these things Demi has done for her fans is great, of course, but truth be told, it’s not the reason I’m so committed.

A few months ago, I was given a new diagnosis of bipolar II. As anyone who has struggled with mental illness knows, getting a new diagnosis can be terrifying, stigmatizing, and every other emotion possible. (See: Rebecca Bunch in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend this season).

But when my psychiatrist gave me his new diagnosis, I honestly wasn’t scared. By that time, Demi had come out as bipolar long ago. And she had done it in such a way that made bipolar seem tough but manageable. My journey as bipolar has not been easy but it hasn’t been stigmatized in the least. I’ve told friends and coworkers without fear of judgment and I do think I have Demi to thank for that.

Perhaps one of the best moments for me was watching her YouTube documentary Simply Complicated. Seeing Demi juggle so many things successfully just made me think, ‘I can do this too.’

My favorite Demi quote is something she said back in August 2018,

“I think when people refer to me as being bipolar, it’s something that is true—I am bipolar—but I don’t like people to use it as a label. It’s something that I have, it’s not who I am.”

Bipolar is just one part of me. I’m so grateful to have a badass babe in the spotlight like Demi, who squashes all my deepest fears about my illness. So do you blame me for being obsessed?


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This article originally ran on March 5, 2018, and has since been updated.

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.