Troian Bellisario’s eating disorder left her feeling isolated.
Although the ‘Pretty Little Liars’ star was surrounded by a loving family and supportive boyfriend, she admitted that she found it hard to cope as no one could understand what she was going through.
She told Interview magazine: "I couldn’t get anyone – even the people who loved me the most, even my boyfriend or my mother or my father – to understand what that experience was truly like for me.
"I found there were so many people who thought that it was about losing weight or being skinny, and I couldn’t quite get them to understand that it was about control on a very, very literal level."
The star – who married ‘Suits’ actor Patrick J. Adams last year – has written and directed a movie ‘Feed’, which explores the themes of depression, isolation and anorexia and was informed by her own illness and recovery.
She said: "If I can tell a story that puts the audience in a position to make a similar choice to the one that I made in my young life, maybe I could get them to empathize."
And although her family were worried about her making the movie, Troian,31, feels it was cathartic.
She explained: "They were all very supportive. They were all very afraid, which I totally understand. They’d been through hell watching me and feeling powerless themselves. And here I was saying, ‘Hey guys, I know that I’ve gone through a lot of therapy and a lot of heartbreak to make myself strong enough to live without this thing, but I’m actually going to make a movie where I go back and engage with it fully.’ It was not easy; it was like engaging with an addiction. "One of the things I really wanted the film to explore was that once you have this relationship, once you have this mental illness or this disease, it never really goes away. Your synapses are wired in a way that you will always feel this compulsion, but as you grow older and create a healthier life and go through lots of therapy, you tend to feel more empowered when it comes to making these choices. It’s amazing that you can have this huge, life-threatening thing be a part of you and still live inside of you, and almost tame it in a weird way."