She could recount every failed Everest expedition in mesmerizing detail -- the sort of a talent I would expect of a rock climber, not someone who'd never gone camping. Then I found out."There's something you should know about me," she said, a couple of hours into the date. I tried to remember if I'd sipped from her drink."I'm bipolar," she said."Good," I replied.
"I hope it doesn't scare you off."Panicked thoughts raced through my mind. This was the odd humor Sara and I had already established, but I wasn't entirely joking.
The audience, however—mostly middle-aged, devoid of tweens—is not her typical demographic. Lovato is on stage in front of members of the country's leading mental health organizations for the National Council of Behavioral Health's Hill Day in Washington, D. She's answering questions from the coiffed and pinstripe suited Linda Rosenberg, the council's CEO.
And she's recalling her first time experiencing mental illness.
"You're always going to remember your first time," Demi Lovato, wearing a skin-tight, long-sleeved black mini dress and sky-high Chloe Gosselin booties, says to a room full of strangers.
Taking center stage (and causing a few cheeks to burn) is not a totally foreign experience for the child actor turned sexy song-of-summer pop star.
Loud applause breaks out as Lovato says, "There's no day off in recovery."Accountability, she says, is key.
But if it's more damaging than beneficial for people to know, I don't think it's anyone's business." (One issue that falls in that category might be gun control, which Lovato shies away from: "I actually learned that people with mental illness are more likely to harm themselves or be a victim than they are to hurt others," she says. hotel suite, not doing press for her album, even though the aptly titled will be released just next week.
"But sometimes getting into gun control can be a very touchy subject, so I'd rather stay out of it.") She's also willing to admit that the constant talk of addiction and mental health can be tiring. "I kind of got to a point this last year when I was touring and with some of my songs—'Warrior' in particular and 'Skyscraper'—I used to talk about mental illness and my struggle with it, but then I kind of I felt like it was starting to define me as a person and as an artist. "Sharing my experience and showing up to Capitol Hill, it's very important," she says.
"I tell on myself," she says, looking at Rosenberg and noting how important it is to have a support system when she feels an urge to participate in what she calls "destructive" behavior. She's admitted to experiencing suicidal thoughts as early as seven years old, a stark contrast to the smiling kid she played alongside Selena Gomez on .
As a teen, she struggled with eating disorders, self-harm, a cocaine addiction, and alcohol abuse. But I wasn't in a place where I could quit by myself." Then, in 2010, the 19 year old hit her "main rock bottom" and—after a well-reported violent incident— abruptly left the Jonas Brothers' world tour to seek treatment.