Dear Demi Lovato,
Thinking back to the year of 2014, I can only remember that my year went a lot like yours did. I started off just having bad thoughts, dealing with possible depression, and soon started self harm. I didn’t want to eat anything, I’d pretend to eat my dinner only to throw it away when my parents weren’t looking. At night, I’d sit in my room and think only bad things. I started getting into taking pain killers like ibuprofen and advil in hopes it would numb out this empty feeling inside of me. I hoped that one day, I might take enough pills to just disappear. As the year went by, I just kept getting worse. I isolated all of my friends, became irritable and distant towards my parents, and barely talked to my boyfriend. At the time, he was struggling with some major family issues, so it made it especially hard. As the weeks past, I started worrying more and more about my weight. I went from 130 to 110 in almost a month. Pretending to eat at school, making myself throw up in the bathroom when the few friends I had left forced me to eat because they knew what I was doing. Finally, one day, I decided that I couldn’t take this empty feeling I had inside of me anymore. One night, at about midnight, I was sitting in my bed, overthinking something stupid, I took a razor out of the one in the shower, and ran it across my skin. Covering my wrist and thighs in thin lines of red. I no longer felt empty, I felt something again. Felt...free. And at that moment, I knew the path I was taking, it wasn’t good, but I felt I had no choice. I engulfed myself in more pills, cutting, barely ate anything besides foods with low calorie content, started drinking on the weekends, and eventually started using vape as my escape. My parents knew nothing. And after reading your book, that’s where I went wrong. But as all things must come to an end at some time, so did my nightmare. My dad saw the marks on my wrist one day after riding. And immediately sent me to a therapist. That therapist, little did I know, became my guardian angel, Lindsey. She recommended that I read your book, and that was the best advice I had ever been given.
As I started the therapy sessions weekly, I grew not only closer to Lindsey, but I grew closer to your book as well. The daily reminders from you that everything was going my way, that God was with me no matter what, and just that everything was going to be okay saved me a heartache each day. At first, reading your book seemed pointless. I was in the mindset that absolutely nothing was going to help me get over this perception I had set myself on in life. Because things were going to happen that were going to make my life seem miserable. Make me want to drink, vape, cut, throw up my dinner, and cry endlessly for hours. I saw no point in going to these therapy sessions because all it did was upset me and make me shut down to talk about these awful feelings I had. During one session, Lindsey suggested that everytime I want to do something bad, I pick up your book and read it. I hadn’t really been reading your book much at first, because again, I saw no point. But I also knew I had to try. I had to try something to get out of this dark hole. So that night, I picked up your book and read, “January 1st, you are beautifully and wonderfully made. Each day, look in the mirror and repeat back to yourself a mantra like that.” I thought to myself, This is bull. How in the world is telling myself that I’m beautiful going to change any of my problems. I kept reading. “The Bible says, ‘you are fearfully and wonderfully made’, so I came up with, ‘you are beautifully and wonderfully made.’ I say it to myself all the time, and it really helps me find peace knowing that I am perfect just as I am and that I don’t need anything beyond what I have within me.” Deciding I had no other choice, I laid back, flat on my back, hands to my sides, and told myself, “You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You are beautifully and wonderfully made.” Over and over again, and soon, I felt at peace. I closed my eyes, repeating those gentle words countless times to myself until I finally just fell asleep. I had found a new drug. One that wouldn’t cause me health problems, one that wouldn’t keep me from growing up, one that made me feel something that wasn’t sorrow or hate or guilt. It made me feel love. Love towards myself and others. Something I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I read further into your book. I read one day, I believe it was January 8, “Love is all you need. There has been so many times in life when I felt lost and hopeless, but when I come back to the love I have in my heart for my friends and family and for my own life, I feel at peace.” I knew I had screwed up my relationship with my family, my friends, even my boyfriend who at the time, was the only friend I had. I was irritable to everyone, calling them names in profanity, telling my parents I hated them. I had gone to war with them, didn’t care what anyone thought, when in reality, that’s what was killing me the most. I read on, “Goal: Let everyone you love know it. Shout it from the rooftops, bake them a cake, write them a letter, or draw them a picture. Don’t let them take your love for granted when you have so much to give.” I pulled out my phone and texted my best friend in the world who I had isolated for almost a year. I told her how much I loved her and didn’t want to lose her, told her how sorry I was for treating her the way I did, that I didn’t mean anything I said and that she was one of the most amazing, beautiful girls in the world. Then, I texted my boyfriend, told him how sorry I was for treating him how I did and how much I loved him. I told him that I was in a bad place, and he understood. Then, I made the hardest phone call in the world- my dad. I asked if he was available to talk, like always, it was a yes. I told him how sorry I was for everything, that I was getting better, that I was thankful he didn’t give up on me and that there was no need to worry about me. He smiled with his lips, but his eyes told me he still worried. I made myself a promise that night, I promise you, I will get better. I’ll treat you like I’d treat Janaska. I’ll treat you like I’d treat Emily. I’ll treat you like I’d treat Mommy and Daddy. I’ll treat you like I love you. And from that day, my life only went up. I stopped smoking, cutting, and starving myself. I gained weight back, the scars faded, and my eyes brightened. I gained my friends back, gained the respect back from my parents, and gave my boyfriend the love he deserved.
Demi, if it hadn't been for your book, I'd be caught in this hole so deep I'd drown’. The pills, drugs, marks and thoughts would've been all too much. Not only have I read your book, but I've watched the documentaries, read your articles, and listen to the album you made during that hard time you went through. I felt I was able to get to know you on a personal level. You helped me release some demons I didn't think would ever leave. But most of all, I'm alive. I have amazing friends, amazing parents and an amazing life. And I AM beautifully and wonderfully made, no matter what. To this day, I still fall back on your book for support when I'm needing that extra push to carry on. You helped me realize that there's gonna be these crappy days that I don’t think I'll get through, but I know I can. Thank you Demi.