Troian Bellisario Opens Up About Struggle With Mental Illness, Eating Only 300 Calories a Day

Troian Bellisario attends the 19th CDGA (Costume Designers Guild Awards) at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 21, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Troian Bellisario attends the 19th CDGA (Costume Designers Guild Awards) at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 21, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. Allen Berezovsky/WireImage for Fashion Media

Troian Bellisario is opening up about her struggle with mental illness. In an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter published on Tuesday, July 18, the Pretty Little Liars star, 31, is candid about her struggle and eating disorder.

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“Here I am, 31 years old,” the actress wrote while recalling a time she was swimming in freezing cold water. “And I’m still denying my body the one thing it is asking me to do: take care of it.”

The CW star explained that her struggle was between her body wanting to be removed from the cold water, and her brain telling her to not be weak.

“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 continued. “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.”

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Bellisario, who tied the knot with husband Patrick J. Adams in December 2016, ended by saying that for her, getting help was a struggle.

“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.”

Her latest project Feed —which she wrote and stars in — has also helped her cope with her mental illness. (Feed is about a teenager who loses control and is driven to an eating disorder after the death of her twin brother.)

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“Writing, producing and acting in it helped me to get one more degree of separation from my disease in what I know will be a lifetime of work in recovery,” she concluded. “It is my greatest hope that someone watching it, struggling with the same challenges I do, might think, ‘What if I were enough too?’ So with all the courage I can muster, I give it to you, I give it to that one person, in hopes that it could make them feel enough.”

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