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Even in the Camp Rock era, Demi Lovato was worried about a Britney Spears/Lindsey Lohan burn-out. She had watched other child stars just like herself fall from fame into desperation and drug use, all while being constantly hounded by paparazzi. She wasn’t exactly coming from a sturdy base either. Both her mother and grandmother had struggled with bulimia Lovato’s whole life, and had a huge impact on her own body image. She was the perfect set-up for a young celebrity horror story.

Demi has spoken about her struggle and mental health a lot in the past few years, and she opened up to American Way Magazine this week for a tell-all. She starts from the very beginning with her body image struggles, which began as early as two or three years-old and only got worse when she started competing in beauty pageants at the age of seven. She was a talented youngster and the performance experience made her better, but it also exposed her to harsh criticisms from others as well as herself. Her family’s history of mental illness (her father was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder) didn’t help and Lovato struggled in her teens with depression and suicidal thoughts.

She talks about how once real fame hit she was in such a fragile state both emotionally and physically, she just couldn’t cope and turned to unhealthy and dangerous habits. She started down that classic celebrity path: late night parties, drinking and ‘self medicating’ with cocaine and Oxycontin, all on top of her preexisting eating disorder and fragile mental health. She said, ‘I lived fast and I was going to die young,’ which isn’t as glamorous as M.I.A. makes it seem.

Lovato couldn’t stress enough the importance of making the decision to seek treatment and support. She checked into rehab in 2010, and though it hasn’t been easy, with support from ‘quality’ friends, she has been able to make a great recovery. She has been sober for four years and speaks candidly about her struggles. There isn’t a day that goes by when she doesn’t receive messages from inspired fans who tell her she’s had an impact on their own struggles. ‘Demi Lovato saved my life’ is a phrase tweeted daily.

She has taken her own struggle and turned it into an opportunity to help others who are in the same or similar situations. One of the most important things she does is keeping the conversation going. Talking about mental health openly is the start to knocking down the stigmas that make so many people feel they are alone. We’re so glad Demi Lovato was able to turn it around and seek treatment, and we’re excited to see what she’ll do with this new lease on life. More music, please!