Demi Lovato went into rehab for emotional issues, and everyone seems hyper-focused on the fight she had with one of her dancers. She needed anger management counseling, she said. But there is a far more dangerous reason that she entered rehab: her cutting addiction.
She did a wonderful thing, admitting that she had issues with self injury. It’s a far under-reported problem, even though celebs like Lindsay Lohan, Drew Barrymore, and Angelina Jolie have all publicly discussed their problems with cutting.
Bringing awareness to her problem took serious guts -- cutting is wrapped in shame and admitting you have a problem is incredibly emotional.
But in trying to do a good thing, did Demi do something very wrong?
Most kids find out about cutting two ways: they accidentally hurt themselves during a moment of distress and discover the release it brings or someone exposes them to it.
By publicly admitting her problem, Demi exposed thousands of kids to the practice of cutting. In raising the awareness of the issue, she also exposed cutting as a viable alternative to dealing with emotions. Kids who might never have even considered self-injury are suddenly curious, and very willing to just give it a try, to see what it’s all about. In particular, those kids who are looking for a way to call attention to themselves stumbled on a gold mine.
Between Demi’s admission and public display of her scars, cutting is glamorized in a way that it shouldn’t be. Factor in blood-lusty movies like Twilight, in which blood is glamorized to the extreme, and you have the perfect brew for young teens who are looking for an outlet. In a way, it treats blood-letting as a badge of honor, not a sign of trouble. The scars show toughness, willingness to endure pain.
Now that she’s out of treatment, Demi has a responsibility to fully explain to her fans the repercussions of self-injury. She needs to express the dangers involved in this coping mechanism that scars not just the skin but the mind as well. She needs to tell them that cutting is as viable a coping mechanism as waiting for a 500-year-old vampire to sweep you off your feet.
What do you think of Demi Lovato’s cutting? Does she have a responsibility to her fans?
Image via Live & Let Die/Flickr