British actor Christopher Eccleston is opening up about his mental health, revealing that he has had a “lifelong” struggle with anorexia.
“Many times I’ve wanted to reveal that I’m a lifelong anorexic and dysmorphic,” he writes in his upcoming autobiography, I Love the Bones of You, according to CNN.
But the former Doctor Who actor, 55, says that he’s held back until now because of his circumstances: “I never have. I always thought of it as a filthy secret, because I’m northern, because I’m male and because I’m working class.”
Even at the height of his career as the beloved Time Lord in 2005, Eccleston writes that he was “very ill.”
“The illness is still there raging within me as the Doctor. People love the way I look in that series, but I was very ill,” he says in the book.
In 2015, the actor was diagnosed with clinical depression, according to The Guardian. The diagnosis came after he separated with his wife.
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“I was in a state of extreme anxiety, convinced I was either going to die or I was going to kill myself,” Eccleston continues. “In my despair I reached for my phone and looked up a psychiatric hospital, I rang ahead, grabbed my bag and ran.”
Since then, he has been on antidepressants, and while the actor says that he hopes to eventually reduce his dosage, he’s been doing well on the medication.
“I am on antidepressants to this day,” he reveals. “I could be on them for the rest of my days. I do have an issue with that,” he said. “I would like to attempt slowly to reduce the dose to experience reality again, to see how I do.”
“And yet, interestingly I have received some of the best reviews of my life since I started taking them.”
After starring on the beloved BBC drama, Eccleston went on to play roles on other TV series, including Heroes, The Leftovers, The A Word and Come Home.
I Love the Bones of You comes out on Thursday.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.