Troian Bellisario may be best known for her role on “Pretty Little Liars,” but the 31-year-old is keeping it 100-percent honest when it comes to her past struggles with mental illness and eating disorder.
On Tuesday, the actress published an essay for Lena Dunham‘s Lenny Letter in which she got candid about a former mental illness battle that led her to mistreating her body and eating 300 calories a day.
In the letter, Bellisario recalled a time when she was swimming in freezing cold water and how she was at war with the opposite messages her mind and body were giving to her. The actress explained that her body was advising her to get out of the cold water while her body was telling her not to be weak.
“Here I am, 31 years old. And I’m still denying my body the one thing it is asking me to do: take care of it,” Bellisario wrote.
The Freeform star went on to open up about how her mental health struggle led to an eating disorder and her limiting herself to only 300 calories a day.
“There is a part of my brain that defies logic. Once, it completely convinced me I should live off 300 calories a day, and at some point, it told me even that was too much,” she wrote.
“That part of my brain is my disease, and there was a time when it had absolute authority over me. It almost killed me, and you can see that even though I have lived in recovery for 10 years now, it still finds loads of fun, insidious ways to thwart me to this day.”
Thank you @lennyletter for letting me write this piece about my continuing work in recovery and how everyday is a different chance to learn more about myself. Huge fan of your work and I feel so honored to now be a part of it. http://www.lennyletter.com/health/a919/troian-bellisario-reveals-mental-health-struggle/ Illustrator: Wenting Li @wentingthings @LennyLetter
Bellisario—who wrote and starred in the upcoming film, “Feed,” in which she plays a teenager who is driven to an eating disorder after the death of her twin brother—ended her essay by detailing the difficult path she went through to getting healthy.
“It was a difficult journey finding my way back to health,” she wrote. “Through hard introspection, intense medical and mental care, a supportive family, friends and patient and loving partner, I survived, which is rare.”
Read Bellisario’s powerful essay here.