Singer Kesha is doing well four months after leaving rehab to treat the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. In a riveting essay for Elle UK (via ATRL), Kesha blamed the music industry for fueling her slide into eating disorders, saying the entertainment industry sets unrealistic body standards.
"The music industry has set unrealistic expectations for what a body is supposed to look like, and I started becoming overly critical of my own body because of that," she wrote. "I felt like people were always lurking, trying to take pictures of me with the intention of putting them up online or printing them in magazines and making me look terrible."
Kesha said she felt like an outsider when she first signed her record contract as a gawky 18-year-old, and quickly developed poor self-esteem and a neurotic self-consciousness. "I became scared to go in public, or even use the Internet," she said. "I may have been paranoid, but I also saw and heard enough hateful things to fuel that paranoia."
Earlier this year, Kesha spent two months in rehab to treat her anorexia and bulimia. At the time her mother, songwriter Pebe Sebert, blamed Kesha's music producer, Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, for her downward spiral into eating disorders. Sebert told People Dr. Luke had repeatedly fat-shamed her and even called Kesha a fat "f**king refrigerator."
Sebert also blamed Kesha's former manager, David Sonenberg, for browbeating her to do whatever it took to lose weight, including doing drugs, vomiting, and starving herself.
Fortunately, all that is in the past now, as Kesha has healed physically and emotionally, and is a much stronger, healthier person. Kesha wrote that the first day in rehab was the "scariest of my life," but she slowly began to shed her self-consciousness and learned to love herself.
The singer said she's still a work in progress, but hopes to use her story to inspire others with eating disorders to get help and realize they, too, can overcome their issues.
"During that time [in rehab] I began to feel a shift in my mentality and really started to understand my own self-worth," she wrote. "I started to not worry as much about what other people thought of me. I'm not fully fixed —I am a person in progress—but I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem."
Kesha joins a growing list of musicians who have opened up about their eating-disorder struggles. Singer Nicole Scherzinger revealed she had battled bulimia for 10 years. Scherzinger said she binge-ate and vomited almost every day during her years with the the Pussycat Dolls, and never told anyone her secret.
Lady Gaga has also been very candid about her decade-long struggle with anorexia and bulimia. Like Scherzinger and Kesha, Gaga said she gradually learned to embrace herself no matter what her weight, and is now stronger than ever.
Similarly, Demi Lovato said she struggled with anorexia and bulimia (as well as depression and drug addiction) for many years, and once starved herself down to 88 pounds. While she still struggles with dark thoughts, Lovato said she's no longer anorexic or bulimic and is much healthier and happier these days.