Troian Bellisario, an actress on the show Pretty Little Liars, recently gave a bravely candid and inspiring interview with Seventeen magazine that appears in their February issue. Bellisario, now 28 years old, shared painful details from her teen years and spoke about how even, today, she sometimes still struggles.
Back in high school, Bellisario says that she had difficulty coping with change and new challenges. “Being a teenager is chaotic because you’re kind of coming into your own. I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong, so I think I created this bizarre system of checks and balances to create order in my world. But it really backfired.”
Bellisario explained, “I started self-harming when I was a junior. I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school.” This was a way of self-punishment and a form of self-harm.
The actress admits that these behaviors and thoughts were all because she had this idea of what it meant to be perfect and that she thought she would never be accepted by others unless she was perfect.
“It was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody. I just thought if I ever expressed [to my parents] any sadness or anger or anything that’s going on with me, they would disown me. I kept a lot of it bottled up inside, and it turned into self-destructive behavior.”
Eventually, her friends staged and intervention and convinced her to get help. Bellisario says she sought professional help for her disorder and that that’s when she finally began to focus on being happy, rather than try to please everyone.
Being an actress and constantly in the public eye, and especially starring on a show with the word “pretty” in the title makes her recovery challenging, she admits.
Solidarity Amongst Pretty Little Liars Cast
After the interview was published, her Pretty Little Liars co-stars showed their support for Troian:
Ashley Benson said in a tweet:
“Wow babe @SleepintheGardn you inspire me. Your @seventeenmag article is amazing. Not to mention you look amazing on the cover. Congrats”
And Lucy Hale tweeted:
“Everyone check out @SleepintheGardn seventeen mag interview. A very inspiring article. Proud of her for speaking up!”
Back in the September 2012 issue of Cosmo magazine, 24-year-old Hale admitted that she had similar self-image issues. “I would go days without eating. Or maybe I’d have some fruit and then go to the gym for three hours.”
The two women are clear that their body image issues had nothing to do with but, they have spoken out about being photo-shopped in a promotional image for the show.
Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating
Currently, eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are the most talked about and understood eating disorders. The newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM V, has expanded the section on eating disorders to include the term Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) and this includes “disordered eating.” This will allow health professionals to identify and treat patients who may not be as extreme in their eating patterns as those with classic anorexia or bulimia but who, nonetheless, display an unhealthy relationship with food and eating. If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, substance abuse, or addiction please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.