“When I compared myself to others, I would read more mean comments, which only fed my anxiety and depression. Seeing paparazzi photos of myself and the accompanying catty commentary fueled my eating disorder,” the singer, 30, writes in an essay for Teen Vogue.
“The sick irony was that when I was at some of the lowest points in my life, I kept hearing how much better I looked. I knew I was destroying my body with my eating disorder, but the message I was getting was that I was doing great.”
Kesha says that she dealt with bullying as a child, but what she sees today on social media is far worse.
“When I think about the kind of bullying I dealt with as a child and teen, it seems almost quaint compared with what goes on today,” she says. “The amount of body shaming and baseless slut-shaming online makes me sick. I know from personal experience how comments can mess up somebody’s self-confidence and sense of self-worth. I have felt so unlovable after reading cruel words written by strangers who don’t know a thing about me.”
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But Kesha says that recently, she’s been able to focus on healing herself.
“In the past couple of years I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve realized that once you take the step to help yourself, you’re going to be so happy you did,” she says. “Taking the time to work on yourself requires bravery. Trying to change your life based on other people’s thoughts can drive you crazy. You have to figure out what makes you feel good and what keeps you in a positive headspace.”
And the singer, who spoke on a cyber-bullying panel at SXSW, has finally learned to ignore the negative comments.
“This is one reason why I’ve changed my relationship with social media. I love it because it’s how I communicate with my fans — and nothing means more to me than my fans — but too much of it can exacerbate my anxiety and depression,” she says.
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She adds that her struggles over the last few years — which coincided with her ongoing court battle with her ex-producer, Dr. Luke — will influence her next album, and urges others who are dealing with similar problems to find acceptance.
“With this essay, I want to pass along the message to anyone who struggles with an eating disorder, or depression, or anxiety, or anything else, that if you have physical or emotional scars, don’t be ashamed of them, because they are part of you,” she says. “Remember that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. And that no one can take the magic you make.”