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May 14, 2015 06:25 PM

It’s been a little over a year since Kesha completed a rehabilitation program for an eating disorder, and the pop star is getting candid about just how serious her struggles with the disease were.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” she told Vogue in an interview published Wednesday. “It’s been quite a journey. [With the criticism about my body], I went to a dark place.”

Kesha, 28, says her unhealthy habits were actually being celebrated by those around her.

“There was a lot of not eating – and I started to think being hungry to the point of feeling almost faint was a positive thing,” she told the magazine. “The worse it got, the more positive feedback I was getting. Inside I was really unhappy, but outside, people were like, ‘Wow, you look great.'”

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The musician says her own music helped inspire her to get help.

“I was singing these songs like ‘We R Who We R,’ and I really believed them,” she said. “I wanted to be genuine. But I was sad.”

The “Timber” singer decided to enter rehab at the urging of her therapist.

“She said, ‘I think it’s time we take a moment to address this.’ I called my mom one night and I told her, ‘I need help.’ I went to an eating-disorder specific rehab site where a nutritionist taught me that food is a positive thing for your body,” she said. “I realized being healthy is the most important thing I can do for myself.”

Kesha said she is now working on learning to accept herself the way she is.

“I’m trying to embrace the skin I’m in,” she said. “It’s difficult sometimes. Every day I have to look in the mirror and make the choice to be kind to myself. This is who I am – I have to love that.”

To stay on a healthy path, she avoids reading any negative commentary about her appearance and body.

“Part of being healthy is being positive,” she said. “I don’t pay attention to the Internet or bloggers. I surround myself with positive people. I run a few miles on the beach every day, and I got into Transcendental Meditation to try to find some peace in my crazy life. [It reminds me] to be grateful for where I am, for my body, and my face – as imperfect as any of it may be.”

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