Appearing on his talk show Tuesday, pop singer Demi Lovato spoke candidly with TV’s Dr. Phil McGraw about her history with bipolar disorder, addiction, an eating disorder and self-harm.
And while Lovato has managed to control her demons, struggles with food-related issues remain.
“My eating disorder started when I was very young, and that’s something I still work on on a daily basis,” she said. “I’ve conquered my addiction and alcoholism in a way where I don’t even think about it anymore, but my struggles with my food issues are something I still deal with.”
In addition, Lovato made the startling confession that she contemplated killing herself at an extremely young age.
“The very first time that I was suicidal was when I was 7,” she said.
She added: “I knew that if I were to take my own life, the pain would end,” she explained. “I turned to cutting and there was a while there where my mom was afraid to wake me up in the mornings. She didn’t know if she opened the door whether I would be alive or not. Every time I cut, it got deeper and deeper.”
She said she believes her poor relationship with her late father as a young girl was to blame for her struggles later in life, but said coming to better terms with her memory of him helped her recovery. Patrick Martin Lovato died of cancer in 2013.
“He was mentally ill and it wasn’t his heart that meant to abandon me,” Lovato said. “I’ve been able to overcome his loss and understand where everything went wrong, and that sadness has been going away.”
Lovato said her new regimen includes giving herself positive affirmations in the mirror daily, and considers how her loved ones would feel if she slipped back into her old habits.
“Sometimes I have to fake it until I make it, sometimes I don’t believe it, but I say it because I know eventually I’ll believe it and it’s kind of changed my life.”
She also offered a comforting message to her young fans who may be struggling through the same problems.
“It’s a very, very serious thing to want to take your own life, to consider taking your own life and taking your own life. It’s not something that should be thought about lightly,” Lovato said. “I’m very very grateful that I’m still here today and I didn’t give into urges and that I’m able to help people and be an example for them, especially my little sister.”