Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay has spoken openly and bravely about living with an eating disorder.
The actress, who played Lady Sybil in ITV's award-winning costume drama, said she has been living with her eating disorder since she was 14.
"I felt so alone for so long, and I just hid," she told The Daily Telegraph. "And then I started talking and held my head up, and instead of saying ‘sorry’ decided to tell myself that I matter."
Brown Findlay, 27, who is now starring in ITV Encore's new period drama Harlots, explained that therapy sessions had helped her to open up about her eating disorder.
She added: "It’s about learning to stand up and say, 'This is me, and that’s OK.' I'm not going to be a better actor if I'm a dress size smaller. It's nothing to do with my brain."
She also explained that she has decided to speak publicly about her eating disorder in order to help others who find themselves in a similar position.
"If you are lucky enough to speak and be heard, it might be something that could be useful to others," she told The Daily Telegraph. "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."
A 2015 report estimated that more than 725,000 people in the UK are living with an eating disorder. Around 89% of them are female. By opening up about being one of them, Jessica Brown Findlay will surely help the ongoing battle to reduce the stigma that surrounds eating disorders.
If you are living with an eating disorder and would like to speak to someone about it, you can call Beat, the UK's eating disorder charity, on 0808 801 0677. Alternatively, you can visit Beat's website.