Jessica Brown Findlay is opening up about her long-time struggle with an eating disorder.
“I’ve had an eating disorder since I was 14,” the Downton Abbey star, 27, told U.K.’s Telegraph. “And I think that we can feed certain ideas of what beauty is and what success is, and I just feel there has to come a time where those aren’t the rules anymore, and then we can have a mature conversation about what that is about, and about depression.”
Findlay says she used to hesitate to speak publicly about her disorder, but she hopes that being more open about it can help others who are suffering.
“If you are lucky enough to speak and be heard, it might be something that could be useful to others,” she told the paper. “The more we have brave discussions like that going forward, the easier it is to talk about things, and the less alone we can feel. It’s certainly made me feel less alone.”
Before opening up about her eating disorder, Findlay says she felt isolated.
“I felt so alone for so long, and I just hid,” she said. “And then I started talking and held my head up, and instead of saying ‘sorry’ decided to tell myself that I matter.”
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The actress says that her change in attitude happened thanks to therapy, which led her to “really look at myself and decide I was going to help myself feel safe and good and healthy, and talk about it.”
She’s now at a place where she doesn’t feel pressure to look a certain way to achieve success as an actress.
“I just think, I’m not going to be a better actor if I’m a dress size smaller,” says Findlay. “It’s nothing to do with my brain.”