Demi Lovato: I Had a Nervous Breakdown

04/14/2011 at 12:50 PM EDT

Demi Lovato: I Had a Nervous Breakdown
Demi Lovato
Courtesy Seventeen Magazine

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato has a new outlook – and a new gig.

The Disney starlet, 18, has joined Seventeen as a contributing editor, and tells the magazine of the events that led her to seek help last fall. Her in-patient treatment ended in January.

"I basically had a nervous breakdown. I was really bad off. My parents and my manager pulled me aside and said, 'You need to get some help.' It was an intervention. I wanted freedom from the inner demons. I wanted to start my life over," she tells Seventeen.

"One of the reasons I was so unhappy for years was because I never embraced my emotions and I was trying to stay in control," she says. "In treatment, all of the negative things I did were stripped away and I had to start processing my feelings."

'A Cry for Help'

"She fought through eating disorders and has struggled with cutting. [She] is taking control by getting help," a source told PEOPLE at the time. She also fought with a dancer while on tour with the Jonas Brothers.

Now in a better place, Lovato, in conjunction with Seventeen, has also joined with The Jed Foundation for a project to help teen girls, called "Love is Louder Than the Pressure to be Perfect." The initiative aims to help those struggling with some of the same issues that Lovato faced.

In her journalistic job, Lovato will post articles twice a month on the Seventeen Web site. In a statement, she says: "I'm so excited to be working with Seventeen and The Jed Foundation to help other teens talk about and cope with the problems we all face."

She adds: "My fans have been such an incredible support system for me – I hope I can repay this and help other girls learn from my experiences."

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