Six months after Kesha entered a Chicago-area rehab center to get treatment for an eating disorder, the singer has opened up about the experience. In an in-depth op-ed piece for Elle UK, copied on the forum Atrl, she recounted the feelings that led to her eating disorder, her fears while getting treatment and how she ultimately found acceptance of herself. “That first day at the treatment center was the scariest of my life,” she wrote.
After addressing the fact that most people thought she was in rehab for partying too much rather than an eating disorder (“My dirty little secret is that I’m actually incredibly responsible,” she wrote), she explained how her eating disorder had begun. “I felt like part of my job was to be as skinny as possible and, to make that happen, I had been abusing my body,” she wrote. “I just wasn’t giving it the energy it needed to keep me healthy and strong.” Upon finding the courage to accept that fact, the singer wrote that she decided to practice what she preaches.
She explained that, as a teenager with a budding pop career, she sought to be different by talking about sex and drinking but felt that gender stereotypes led people to believe she was a “train wreck” rather than a rock & roll star. That’s when she gave in to outside pressures. “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 in Elle. “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. I became scared to go in public, or even use the Internet. I may have been paranoid but I also saw and heard enough hateful things to fuel that paranoia.”
Although Kesha wrote songs like “We R Who We R” and “Warrior” that told people to love themselves, she felt like a phony. “I convinced myself that being sick, being skinny, was part of my job,” she wrote. Then, the singer reached her lowest point this past December and called her mom from a gas station, pleading for help.
Kesha entered rehab the day after New Year’s and began a routine of getting healthy again. She woke up at 5:30 a.m. each day and went to therapy. For the first week, she barely spoke. “I was terrified and vulnerable,” she wrote.
The pop star spent two months in rehab and emerged feeling like she knew her self-worth and didn’t have to worry about how others, including paparazzi, saw her. “I feel stronger now,” she wrote in the article’s conclusion. “Strong enough to admit that I needed help and strong enough to have faced it head on…. Even I need to be reminded that we are who we are.”
Currently, Kesha is serving as an expert on the ABC reality singing show Rising Star, alongside Ludacris and Brad Paisley. The show spotlights aspirant pop stars who are voted on by people at home with an app and, if their approval reaches 70 percent, they move on to another stage of competition.