Today, on July 24, 2018, singer Demi Lovato was reportedly hospitalized after a presumed overdose and has since been reported as being in stable condition. For those who don’t know, Demi has spent much of her career advocating mental health, body positivity, and recovery. In June she released a single called “Sober” that alluded to a recent relapse.
When news like this comes out, it’s normal to be affected by it. You may hear the news and not care, or you may be sad, angry, or even triggered. It’s not easy when we hear news of people in the spotlight struggling. It’s particularly difficult when we can relate to their journey and what they are going through.
When news like this comes out, it’s normal to be affected by it.
I’m here to tell you that anything you are feeling is okay.Whether you are completely unaffected or you haven’t been able to get up off the floor since you found out, it’s okay. It’s just as fine to feel something as it is to not feel anything.
There is no “right or wrong” here.
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I’m here to tell you that anything you are feeling is okay.
Let’s unpack this a little bit. The odds are, you don’t know Demi Lovato personally. However, if you are passionate about mental health or have gone through recovery yourself, you likely know a bit of her story and what she’s done to help normalize and advocate mental health and body image struggles. You may not like Demi, and that’s okay. Similarly, you may love her and be a dedicated supporter of her work; that’s okay, too.
Let’s assume the latter: you are a fan of Demi’s and feel connected to her in some way.
Here are a few things I want to share with you regarding how you may be feeling:
1. If you feel nothing
You are not a terrible person. If you heard this news and you feel nothing, there is nothing wrong with you. Everyone responds to situations and witnessing others’ experiences differently. Maybe you don’t really like Demi, or maybe you like her music but don’t care about her personal life, or maybe you simply don’t have a personal connection and therefore don’t have any emotional connection to what she’s going through: all of this is okay.
Just as there are no “should nots” when it comes to how you feel in these situations, there also are no “shoulds.”
If you heard this news and you feel nothing, there is nothing wrong with you.
2. If you feel a little, but not a lot
In the same way that there are no “shoulds” when it comes to how you feel, there also isn’t any particular extent to how deeply you should feel if you are affected. Perhaps the news saddens you as it would news about any person going through a difficult time, but it isn’t having any major impact on your day or your overall mental health, that’s okay!
If it resonates, perhaps consider doing one thing that will help you express your feelings such as sharing a thoughtful tweet (many are using #PrayforDemi), sending up a prayer, engaging in discussion around the news, or listening to some of Demi’s music.
Consider doing one thing that will help you express your feelings
3. If the news hit you hard
If the news hit you hard, the most important thing for you to understand is that it’s absolutely okay and there is nothing wrong with you. Additionally, being affected by someone else’s struggle does not make you selfish. Often, when we are affected by what someone else is going through, it means the opposite: that we are empathetic to their situation and care deeply for them and others.
Even if it’s not empathy, it is still completely normal to be affected when someone who has similar struggles or experiences as our own goes through a difficult time. Rather than judge yourself, offer yourself grace and prioritize self-care.
If the news hit you hard, the most important thing for you to understand is that it’s okay and there’s nothing wrong with you.
4. If the news scares you
Often, we compare our situation to others’ and wonder if that could or will be us. Fear can sometimes take hold and fool us into thinking that just because someone else faces a relapse or hard time, that means we inevitably will go through the same.
The truth is, relapsing and setbacks are a normal part of recovery and any mental health journey. However, it’s important to remember that what happens in another person’s story does not dictate what will happen in your own.
What happens in another person’s story does not dictate what will happen in own.
5. If the news triggered you
As I mentioned above, it’s common to put ourselves in someone else’s place, especially when they experience a medical crisis or worse. Thoughts of panic or resignation can set in as we wonder if we are next or if that is our inevitable fate. It’s important to remember that although these thoughts are normal, they are not accurate.
There is nothing “wrong” with you if you are triggered by news of celebrities’ struggles. It’s important, though, how you respond if this happens.
If the news of Demi Lovato’s overdose triggered you in any way, I encourage you to:
- Call a friend, “recovery buddy”, family member, or helpine
- Make an appointment with a counselor/therapist
- Utilize activities that help you cope with triggers (learn some in these articles)
- Step away from the news, social media, and any other sources that could make things worse
Remember, your feelings are never “wrong” and your mental health is always the priority.
Here’s a short video I posted on Instagram just for you:
With the recent news of #DemiLovato being hospitalized for an overdose, I wanted to pop-in quickly to let you know that ANYTHING you are feeling in this situation is OKAY. 💜 . . 📣IMPORTANT: . IT'S NORMAL to be affected when news like this hits (it's also okay to not be affected all). . IT'S OKAY to feel sad/angry/upset. . IF YOU ARE TRIGGERED, reach out for support via a helpline or contacting a friend, recover buddy, or therapist. (and step away from the news/social media 🚫) . . REMEMBER: your #mentalhealth always comes first and you're NOT SELFISH if someone else's struggle is impacting you. #Selfcare always comes first. . . LASTLY, if the news scares you in regards to your own situation, I'm here to remind you that what happens in someone else's story does not dictate what will happen in yours. . . Tl;dr: your feelings are okay, you are okay, you're not alone 🤗 . . My thoughts and prayers are with Demi and with all of you as we all process what is happening. –@laurenbsag 💖 | #prayfordemi #LiberoChampions
Image attribution: By Frank Schwichtenberg(Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0], via Wikimedia Commons; cropped to fit website dimensions.