Lindsey Stirling had always considered her sister to be her best friend. But one day, when she was 23, YouTube’s dancing violinist realized the two college roommates had become “complete strangers.”
“I saw my relationships deteriorating with my sister Brooke,” says Stirling, who is featured in the current issue of PEOPLE. “I’d become miserable and self-absorbed about my body. That’s when it hit me that I had a problem.”
It was then that Stirling first admitted to herself that she was anorexic and – as a result of the lack of nutrients – depressed.
“Once I admitted that to myself, I was able to start the process of change,” says Stirling, who relied on group therapy and her Mormon faith as she found her way back to a healthy body weight – and happiness.
• For more from Stirling – including how she felt about being kicked off America’s Got Talent in 2010 – pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now
“I believe anyone can find happiness. It just takes a lot of work,” says Stirling.
And now the violinist – who is one of the highest paid content creators on YouTube, is not only close with her sister again, they also worked together on Stirling’s memoir The Only Pirate at the Party.
“Getting to write this book with my sister was amazing. She’s an incredible writer and getting to do this with her…we were so sad when it was over,” Stirling says of collaborating on the New York Times bestseller. “My favorite thing about the success I’ve found is that I get to share it with my family and the ones that I love.”