Demi Lovato‘s longtime backup dancer and friend Dani Vitale is denying rumors that she provided the singer with drugs, all while opening up about the depression she felt after those accusations spread online.
In an emotional, 1,000-plus word essay shared to Vitale’s Instagram on Thursday, the dancer made it clear that she was not responsible for Lovato’s relapse.
“I have NEVER touched nor even SEEN a drug in my entire life,” Vitale wrote. “I DO NOT DO DRUGS, nor would I ever encourage, or supply them to anyone I love.”
Vitale, 28, went on to recount how she had been out celebrating her birthday with friends on July 23. The next morning, she woke up to a call about Lovato’s overdose. “My whole being was ridden with sadness, confusion, love and hopelessness,” she said.
In the aftermath, rumors that Vitale had supplied Lovato with drugs spread — sending Vitale into turmoil.
“I wound up not leaving my house nor my bed for 3 weeks,” she said on Instagram. “Ridden with severe depression, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, disgust, numbness and many more adjectives that I’ve been feeling that I sadly can’t even put into words.”
“After days of countless nights not being able to sleep, or waking up in a full sweat and soaking in my own tears, I was forced to put my phone in a dresser drawer,” Vitale added. “Terrified to open a blind or to get out of bed, my house remained just as dark as my mind daily. I thought if I stayed asleep, that was the time I didn’t have to be conscious living in this hell that was being forced upon me. And there were nights I would honestly hope I wouldn’t wake up the next morning so I didn’t have to live through this anymore and it would all go away. I couldn’t shower, eat, sleep, keep food down, or engage in anything outside of just saying, ‘Why?’ ”
Distraught and scared, Vitale felt isolated from her work and abandoned by those around her.
“I do what I do because I loved it, and the world was taking that away from me,” she wrote on Instagram. “People that I thought loved me were nowhere to be found or heard from. Companies stopped replying [to] emails and I was alone. Please keep in mind this isn’t me being dramatic, nor am I an over-emotional person, but this situation has been unlike anything I have ever lived through and this is the truth.”
Though she’s since returned to leading dance classes in Los Angeles, even dedicating the first one to Lovato, the pain still sits with Vitale.
“I’m still scared to touch my phone and open it, and trying to resume my ‘normal’ life has been brutally unbearable,” Vitale said. “I’ve driven somewhere, then have to been too scared to leave my car, super insecure even ordering a simple cup of coffee.”
“The circulation of an UNTRUE story on the internet yanked my life, my reputation, my name and everything I have worked so hard to stand for, out from underneath me. A damaging narrative that demonized me, placed blame on me, and has since cost me so many wonderful moments in life,” she added. “This UNTRUE narrative is damaging innocent people’s lives, mine included. We are so quick to point the finger with little to ZERO facts at all.”
She said that the experience has allowed to truly understand the online bullying Lovato experiences on the regular, something she hopes people will think more about before they type.
“For the first time in my life, I was witnessing how disturbingly sick so many people are on the Internet,” she said on Instagram. “Those words I and you read are real and it affects us no matter how strong or secure we are. Even with how open I am on Instagram, people obviously STILL don’t know who I am to the core and they will choose to make their own story about us [up] no matter how transparent we are.”
“Some of you might say ‘Well writing this, you are basically saying the bullies won.’ No. They didn’t win s—. If anything, they lost because I am going to do anything and everything I can to put some sort of stop to this for anyone.”
Vitale ended her note by referencing the monologue Lovato gave prior to her performance of “Sorry Not Sorry” at the American Music Awards in 2017.
“There’s so much hate in this world, we have to rise above,” Vitale wrote, quoting Lovato. “Never say sorry for who you are.”
Back in July, Vitale broke her silence about Lovato’s overdose on Instagram, writing, “I care about Demi just like all of you do. I have not said anything about this situation until now because her recovery has been of the most importance.”
“Remember that you always have a community of Lovatics who LOVE,” she stressed. “Please remember that when you take out your phones and start typing. Remember that we all love her more than we can ever put into words. Please continue to send her love during her recovery.”
RELATED VIDEO: Demi Lovato Breaks Silence After Overdose and Hospitalization: ‘I Will Keep Fighting’
Lovato — who was hospitalized for nearly two weeks after her July 24 overdose — has also opened up about her overdose, thanking her friends, family, team, and doctors at Cedars-Sini for their support and assuring everyone that “I will keep fighting.”
“I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction,” shared the former Disney Channel star — who has battled addiction, mental illness and disordered eating for years — via Instagram on Aug. 5. “What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet.”
“I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side,” she added.
“I will keep fighting,” she continued, adding a heart emoji.
PEOPLE confirmed on Aug. 10 that Lovato temporarily checked out of her in-patient facility to seek additional treatment for mental health and substance abuse weeks after her overdose.
As TMZ first reported, the pop star, 25, left her treatment facility and flew with her mom Dianna De La Garza to Chicago, where she had plans to meet with a psychiatrist who specializes in mental health and sobriety for several days.
“She’s in the midst of recovery,” a source close to Lovato told PEOPLE exclusively. “It’s going to be a long road, and Demi knows that. Emotionally, it hasn’t been easy, but she’s doing okay.”
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.