By Mandi Bierly
July 17, 2012 at 03:55 PM EDT
Charley Gallay/Getty Images
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The more open Demi Lovato is, the more we like her. The new X Factor judge is Self magazine’s August cover girl and candidly answers readers’ questions about her history with cutting, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and how she stays healthy now. Asked to explain why she cut herself, Lovato says, “There were times I felt so anxious, almost like I was crawling out of my skin, that if I didn’t do something physical to match the way I felt inside, I would explode. I cut myself to take my mind off that. I just didn’t care what happened. I had no fear.”

After her bipolar diagnosis, she says, her life made sense: “I remember being on my tour bus thinking, My life is so awesome right now, but I’m so depressed. Then, a few days later, I’d be on top of the world. It was really confusing….”

You make a choice to work toward happiness, she says. “I used to expect it to come to me, but it takes more than seeing a therapist once a week. I make time for myself and meditate. And I haven’t used my cell in three months! Subconsciously, it was a crutch. When a room gets quiet, what do you do? Grab your phone! Now I can sit and have conversations with people.”

In the February issue of Seventeen, Lovato spoke about how she used to deal with her issues. “I’m not going to lie, I was self-medicating. I was doing things like drinking and using [drugs], like a lot of teens do to numb their pain,” she said. After proper treatment, Lovato said, “I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t throw up after my meals, I don’t starve myself. There’s nothing that I do that I feel ashamed of.”

Lovato, who released her third album last fall, will co-host the Teen Choice Awards with Glee‘s Kevin McHale on July 22.

Read more:

Demi Lovato named the Teen Choice 2012 host — EXCLUSIVE

Demi Lovato talks drug use and Miley Cyrus in new interview

Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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