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Simply Complicated: Demi Lovato’s Eye-Opening Documentary

Demi Lovato delves into her personal struggles with mental illness and drug addiction in a tell-all documentary.

Sana Mamtaney, Features Writer

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Singer, actress, and activist Demi Lovato has always been open with her fans, but her new documentary, Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated paints an even more raw picture of her life struggles than ever before. Unsuspecting viewers might initially expect the film to be glamorous. While it does describe Demi’s life as a child star and as a now extremely successful singer , it primarily focuses on the “ugly” stuff–what people don’t always want to hear, or are afraid of hearing about. The documentary, which was released on October 17th on Youtube, gives viewers a look into the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer’s ongoing battles with drug addiction, mental illness, and heartbreak.

From the very start of the film, Demi is blunt and honest; the second phrase she says is “the last time I did an interview this long, I was on cocaine- it was called staying strong.” The former Disney star’s battle with drug addiction began after the pressure increased for her to be “perfect” after she suddenly rose to fame through the Disney Channel original movie, Camp Rock. As she was constantly in the public-eye, her addiction  even resulted in her punching a backup dancer in retaliation for telling tour managers that she was on the drug Adderall. After incidents in which she falsified drug tests, snuck drugs on planes, and was found under the influence during performances, she spent time in rehab, going as far as destroying her phone to be less exposed to her growing pressures. As of 2017, Lovato has been sober for five years.

Although she has conquered her drug addiction, Demi claims that she has not completely conquered her eating disorders of bulimia and anorexia, which have resulted in some relapses. The most recent time she relapsed has been credited to her breakup with her boyfriend of six years, Wilmer Valderrama. Lovato believes that “you don’t share six years with somebody and not give them a piece of your heart,” saying that she will always love Valderrama.

Along with her breakup, Lovato openly discusses her constant battle with bipolar disorder, depression, and mania, saying that she was “fascinated with death” from a young age. She describes how she was bullied as a teenager, and how girls at her school made a suicide petition for her to kill herself. As a result, her depression and her eating disorder began, as the same girls would call her “fat” and other distasteful and derogatory terms. When she learned she was manic, a term for the component of bipolar disorder that causes symptoms including racing thoughts, lack of need for sleep, and heightened emotions, Demi states that she finally felt like her actions weren’t her fault– a realization that people with mental illness often struggle to come to.

Demi Lovato’s life in the public eye was not always “pretty,” and she willingly embraces this in her documentary, giving hope to others who struggle with the same issues that she does. Her experiences are not sugarcoated, and this celebrity once frowned upon by parents because of her unhealthy behavior is now looked up to by children and teenagers for her strength, honesty, and bravery.

Sophomore Mary Elias gives her reflection after watching the documentary. “It was a little weird to see someone who I loved as a kid talking about serious topics, but her bringing attention to the topics was good because a lot of people will watch it and learn about how hard it can be, and it makes people who are dealing with the same things that Demi dealt with feel like they aren’t alone.” The issues that are tackled in this documentary are some that millions and even billions of people struggle with everyday. Demi Lovato gives those individuals a voice in her tell-all documentary, while helping those who have never experienced these struggles learn about the strength and courage that is required to overcome such difficulties.

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Simply Complicated: Demi Lovato’s Eye-Opening Documentary