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How Lindsay Ell's New Album Helped Her Heal From Her Traumatic Past

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Lindsay EllTerry Wyatt/Getty Images for Billboard

Lindsay Ell poured everything she had into her new album.

After all, heart theory—about what she calls the seven stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing and acceptance—helped the country star heal. “I feel like this record has been therapy for me in so many ways,” she shared with E! News. “I probably saved thousands of dollars in therapy writing this album.”

And while she delves into heartbreak—”Whenever we go through a breakup, we pause to look back at our life”—Lindsay also opens up about surviving sexual assault as a young girl in her ballad “make you.” “I feel like being able to validate myself as a little girl,” she shared, “being able to talk about my story as a little girl for the first time has been a huge step in the process to me fully feeling like I have gone to that place of acceptance.”

Originally, it wasn’t a story she intended to share. But that changed three years ago when she visited Youth For Tomorrow, an organization that provides a safe environment for at-risk, abused and abandoned children. There to help launch a music program, she met with young girls, who were victims of sex trafficking and rape and found herself opening up like never before about her own past.

She was especially struck by a 12-year-old girl whose parents had sold her into a sex trafficking company. “She had so much light in her eyes and light in her heart,” Lindsay recalled, “And had this deep, dark past.”

It was then she realized her work had just begun. “I left that place that day knowing if I didn’t talk about this right now,”

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