Actress Troian Bellisario Gets Candid About Mental Health, Eating Disorder

By David Konow 07/25/17

The "Pretty Little Liars" star wrote a personal essay about mental health and disordered eating.

Troian Bellisario

The Freeform series Pretty Little Liars recently ended its successful run, and Troian Bellisario—who played Spencer Hasting on the show—is moving on to the big screen with the release of Feed, a movie about anorexia that she wrote and stars in.

The 31-year-old actress, who has been open about her eating disorder battle, recently wrote a first-person account for Lenny Letter where she got candid about her mental health. “As someone who struggles with a mental illness, my biggest challenge is that I don’t always know which voice inside me is speaking,” she relates. “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.

“That part of my brain is my disease,” she continues. “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.”

In helping her deal with her eating disorder, Bellisario created the movie Feed. As she writes in Lenny Letter, “The voice of my disease is with me every day…That’s partially why I wrote Feed. I wanted to channel that voice into a story and out of myself…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.”

Bellisario is getting professional help, and has a good support system behind her. “It was a difficult journey finding my way back to health,” she continues. “Through hard introspection, intense medical and mental care, a supportive family, friends and a patient and loving partner, I survived…

“I don’t want to just survive that part of my life,” she says today. “I want to create in rebellion. I want to stop looking at the clocks. I wanna get paint all over the floor and build a wall of feedback in the amp so loud that it starts a mosh pit as I scream back in the face of my disease: I AM ENOUGH!”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.