“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,” Bellisario, 31, writes in Tuesday’s Lenny Letter.
“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 ten years now, it still finds loads of fun, insidious ways to thwart me to this day.”
Bellisario writes she is in recovery, thanks to the people around her.
“It was a difficult journey finding my way back to health. Through hard introspection, intense medical and mental care, a supportive family, friends, and a patient and loving partner, I survived, which is rare.”
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The former Pretty Little Liars star wrote, produced and stars in the new movie Feed, about a teenager who loses control — and is driven to an eating disorder — after the tragic death of her twin brother. Bellisario says her own need for control was part of her inspiration for the movie.
“The voice of my disease is with me every day,” she says. “I am practiced at ignoring it, for the most part, but it’s still there, finding new ways to undermine me. That’s partially why I wrote Feed. I wanted to channel that voice into a story and out of myself. I wanted to create a character who also wondered how she could be enough.”
And creating the film was therapy in itself.
“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 says.
“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.”