In the letter written for Vogue, Lovato talks about her experience at the beginning of the year that many of us can probably relate to. That is, having the year we'd planned and hoped for kinda sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic.
Lovato had just performed at the Super Bowl, the Grammys, put a single out and was "prepared mentally to crush it." When it became clear the lockdown would be a lot longer than we all might have thought, it hit the singer hard. "Depression and mental illness are part of my history, and because of all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, my anxiety skyrocketed."
She explains the uncertainty she felt, "I was suddenly confronted with all these questions: 'When are we going to go back to work?' 'Are more people going to have to die?' 'How bad is this going to get?' Everything was so suddenly out of my control and not just for me individually, but for us as a global community.”
Despite her very valid fears, Lovato does acknowledge the focus mental health has gotten during the pandemic, writing, "It has shone a spotlight on mental health in a way like never before. For so many years, mental illness was seen as shameful. I certainly felt ashamed; I was made to feel ashamed. This comes from ignorance."
She explains how important this moment is for all of us to destigmatise mental health: by talking, sharing and advocating for a better understanding of depression and anxiety. As well as her reflections on the current political situation and ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, Lovato also shared a little bit of the routine she's created to help her mental health.
"I started to ask myself questions: 'What’s important to me?' 'What's going to get me through this?' 'How can I remain positive?' I knew that I wanted to learn something from this time that could actually better my life, my mental health and my emotional wellbeing in the long term."
And, she gives her fiancée, Max Ehrich, a bit of the credit for helping shift her anxiety and sleep trouble. "Initially I was resistant, but because my fiancé is so positive all the time, I just started picking up on the things he does. I started meditating and doing yoga. I started journaling, painting, taking pictures and being creative, and learning to appreciate nature, after realizing I’d been taking it for granted all this time. At first I was having a hard time falling asleep because my anxiety was so high, so I got into the habit of doing a nighttime ritual. Now I light my candles, put on an affirmation meditation tape, I stretch and I have essential oils. Finally, I’m able to fall asleep easily."
We're incredibly glad to hear it.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with your mental health, there are people who are ready and willing to listen. Contact Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or QLife (1800 184 527). If you feel your life is in danger or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call Lifeline (13 11 14), 1800Respect (1800 737 732) or call emergency services (000).