Mental illness has been a menace of the years and affects people across socio-economic boundaries. Many people, both common and famous, are victims of this disorder. For famous people, mental disorders can break their careers as it can incapacitate them, making them unable to explore their potentials. However, famous people can also rise above their mental health challenges and be a voice in the society. Demi Lovato is an example of a famous person who has mental illness (Emma-Hilton, 2017). She has on several occasions confessed to have a bipolar disorder; a condition she recounts has been with her ever since she was young. This paper seeks to discuss Demi Lovato as a famous person with a bipolar disorder, how she copes with her condition, the influence that bipolar has had on her career, and assessing if her mental illness made her famous.
Symptoms of Demi Lovato's Mental Illness and her Coping Difficulties
For years, Lovato recounts that people would tell her that she was constantly depressed. She would at times be really upset with everybody and everything, while other times she experienced mania episodes. She narrates that during these episodes, she felt happy and jovial and she would stay awake up till wee hours in the morning. During this period, she felt invincible, and she would write up to seven songs in a single night. Moreover, Lovato developed an eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, in which she could eat too much. She also recounts facing persistent unsuitable compensatory behavior that was tailored towards preventing weight gain. In most cases, she would misuse laxatives, undertake excessive exercise, and fast. She also had willingness to harm either herself or others. She narrates that she contemplated committing suicide on several occasions and was in constant fights with people (Dannibale, 2014).
According to Yatham et al. (2013), a bipolar disorder makes a victim to have extreme mood swings, which include depressions and hypomania or mania. During emotional lows, a person living with a bipolar disorder feels depressed, sad, and hopeless. However, during emotional highs, bipolar disorder patients may feel euphoric, unusually irritable, or full of energy. Normally, these mood swings affect the energy, sleep, judgment, activity, and behavior of the sufferers of this disorder. Thus, the descriptions that Lovato gave regarding her health conditions are characteristics of a person with a bipolar disorder, a type of mental illness.
Despite being a renowned singer, Lovato has had difficulties coping with her condition in the public eye. She explains that she is working extra hard to develop healthier and good relationship with food. Dannibale (2014) notes that Lovato admits through her documentary that her biggest challenge is still food. Lovato has had struggles with her body image as well as a strong urge to eat. However, after eating, she has always been wishing that she never ate. She admits being envious of people who do not have eating disorders as she believes that her life could have been better. Her rehabilitation process notwithstanding, she has had occasional relapses that have been detrimental to her recovery process. Two years ago, she began bingeing after she broke up with her longtime boyfriend, Wilmer Valderrama. She narrated that whenever she misses him; she feels a strong urge for food and begins bingeing. This relapse makes her feel that she is a disappointment to her family and fans, consequently feeling very ashamed of herself. Despite her feelings of disappointment, she has been an inspiration to millions of her fans who suffer from mental illness.
How Mental Illness Influenced Demi Lovato's Career
Bipolar disorder has had a positive influence on Lovato's career. She has successfully used her condition to raise awareness to help people with bipolar disorder obtain the required treatment. It is prudent to note that she openly shares her struggles with bipolar disorder with the public, which has helped most individuals to have in-depth knowledge of this disorder and the steps required to eradicate its effects (Dannibale, 2014). Therefore, Lovato has become an advocate on mental health issues. She is currently a proud spokesperson of a not-for-profit organization dubbed "Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health." She has used her huge following and fan base to encourage women and men who struggle with bipolar disorder. She sensitizes people living with mental illness on guidelines that they should follow to curb instances of depression or lows.
Lovato elucidates that during manic episodes, she stays awake throughout the night, a situation that has helped her write many songs. For example, her song dubbed "Confident" has been a revelation as far as teaching her fans on the importance to talk about mental illness is concerned (Blue, 2013). Through this song, she has encouraged people to be strong and fight their mental health issues. A year after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she released a song called "Skyscraper" that documented her struggles and will and desires she had to overcome her bingeing situation. Admittedly, according to Satriawan (2017), Lovato acknowledges her mental illness condition in this song and hopes that she will overcome it and stand tall just like a skyscraper. Thus, through this song, she is resists the voices that told her that she was not perfect enough or pretty. Other than getting inspiration to write her songs, Lovato has been giving motivational speeches before she performs on stage to help her fans not only to relate but also to cope with their challenges. She has, therefore, helped to eliminate the negative stereotype that the public have on the people who have mental illness. In this regard, her bipolar condition has helped her obtain more followers, particularly those who suffer from various mental illnesses.
Assessing if Demi Lovato's Mental Illness Lead Her into Fields in Which Fame Was Important
As an armature in the music industry, Demi wanted to impress her fans through composing music that they would like (Dannibale, 2014). Furthermore, she was trying hard to maintain a given body image that would please her fans. The fame and pressure then took a toll on her, making her develop social anxiety disorder as well as suffer from pre-existing mental illness. It is imperative to highlight that her bold decision to share her experiences and struggles with bipolar disorder has earned her a global audience, which has helped her not only to raise awareness about mental illness, but also to develop a large fan base across the world (Dwight, 2016). Moreover, she has been able to successfully steer a mental health campaign which has positively transformed mental health patients. It is vital to understand that in the music industry, being famous is paramount as it helps musicians to have a large audience. People are willing to pay more to attend music concerts of a famous musician as compared to those of budding artists. Furthermore, the large audience enables them to collect acquire more cash as far as the gate fee collection is concerned. Demi Lovato's condition has, therefore, led her into fame, a necessity for success in the music industry.
Mental illness can be detrimental to famous people as it can take a toll on their career. In most cases, famous people resort to keeping their mental illness a private matter. However, Demi Lovato has made public her mental illness. She has refused to let her mental health condition to break her and prevent her from achieving her career dreams. Lovato has been struggling with bingeing, suicidal thoughts, and constant mood swings, but she has risen above her conditions to inspire millions of her followers and fans. She has had to cope with difficulties associated with bipolar disorder through rehabilitation and undertaking exercises to help her control her bingeing condition. Imperatively, bipolar disorder has been an inspiration and motivational factor to her. Through her condition, she has composed musical lyrics such as "Skyscraper" and "Confident" that educate and encourage people to speak out and seek relevant treatment regarding their mental illness. Her mental illness has, thus, enabled her to gain a large fan base that has been instrumental in her success in music. Therefore, people with mental illness should face their condition with courage irrespective of their social status and inspire others just as Demi Lovato has successfully done. Moreover, other famous people should emulate her and raise public awareness regarding mental illness and related disorders.
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Dwight, E. (2016). Celebrity Humanitarianism: Bridging the Gap. Harvard International Review, 37(3), 18.
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