Demi Lovato on Beating Depression

I’m not too familiar with Demi Lovato’s music and TV work. I’m from, as the saying goes, a different generation. My musical taste dates to the 1970s and 1980s, when I was in high school and college, and most pop music since around 2000 leaves me cold. Remember the South Park episode when Randy tries listening to the music his son likes, and he really really wants to like it too so he won’t feel old, but finally has to admit he hates it? That’s me.

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Demi Lovato’s life story, her personal demons and efforts to overcome them, hold more interest for me. While living in the tabloid spotlight she has struggled with depression, bipolar disorder, bulimia, self-harming, alcohol and cocaine abuse. She had to abandon a tour in 2010 and spent three months in rehab. Afterward she chose to live in a sober living facility for more than a year, even though she had just bought a big house.

She’s hardly the only former child star to deal with these problems. What sets her apart are her commitment to healthy living and willingness to speak publically about mental health. That part of her story is truly impressive.

She made the hour-long documentary Stay Strong for MTV, which first aired in March 2012. The format is half standard rockumentary (live performances, career history, screaming fans) and half personal chronicle of her downward spiral and road to recovery.

Then in November 2013, Demi Lovato published her first book, Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year. I picked up this book recently after reading a few enthusiastic mentions. To be honest I was prepared to hate the book, to find it a callow celebrity ego trip. Well, I was wrong. It’s a fine book full of wisdom, compassion and good advice.

Each daily page consists of a quotation, one paragraph of commentary and one paragraph of advice. Short, direct, positive, thought-provoking. The quotation sources range from great thinkers to modern celebrities.

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Regardless whether you’re a fan or part of this book’s target demographic, you can’t help but respect Demi Lovato’s honesty, perseverance and positivity.

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