Guest blogger Maggie Baumann, MA: According to family sources, 18-year-old Disney star Demi Lovato is safely tucked away in a specialized treatment center and is addressing her struggle with "emotional and physical issues."
Yesterday, it was reported on momlogic that the teen actor and singer had been admitted into treatment for cutting, a self-harming behavior. Other sources report that the actress may be struggling with an eating disorder as well. Cutting and eating disorders often go hand in hand. Both behaviors are used as coping skills (albeit unhealthy ones) to deal with a life that seems, to the individual, to be overwhelming and out of control.
I personally applaud Demi and her family for taking action and seeking help. She may have had to leave a career-advancing tour with the Jonas Brothers, but this pause in her career might actually save her life and prevent the years of destruction that further cutting and eating disorders would have had on her mind, body and soul.
I've read that she and her family have generally received support from fans for taking this step to get help. She is doing the right thing. She is making her own health a priority over her status in Hollywood. Unlike other stars who've struggle with issues (such as Lindsay Lohan), she's being proactive rather than reactive. Demi should feel no shame for taking action to take care of herself.
I checked out the few comments we had on our post on Tuesday, and it saddens me to see people write mocking comments like, "Cuts like a knife" or "Another messed up child actor." Of course, I am all for free speech, and everyone has the right to her own comments. I guess what saddens me is that this young woman is ready to battle her demons (and we all have them). Having compassion for people who have the courage to seek help when they are not well is what we should be focused on -- not on the news that Demi is a cutter, and what that says about her. No one should shame people who are struggling with things like this. Underneath the cutting or other self-harming behavior is a person who is hurting. Shaming people who cut or have an addiction only pushes them to want to avoid the problem, deny it or go underground with it.
My hope is that when we read these stories of celebrities battling addictions, eating disorders, cutting or what have you, we look deeper than the cut on the skin. And if these courageous people (who share these types of addictions with many of us "normies") take steps to get the help they need, we should congratulate them on their courage -- not shame them for their struggles. A kind word of support goes a long way when someone is hurting.