Troian Bellisario Struggled With Eating Disorder And Self Harming As A Teen

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January 6, 2014 | 5:56pm EST

Actress Troian Bellisario has revealed she struggled with an eating disorder and self-harming issues as a teenager.
The Pretty Little Liars star explains the pressure she felt to be perfect led to the destructive behavior.
She tells Seventeen magazine, “I was the youngest daughter, the perfect little girl. My school was a very intense college prep school. So it was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody.
“I just thought if I ever expressed to (my parents) any sadness or anger or anything that’s going on with me, they would disown me. I kept a lot of it bottled up inside, and it turned into self-destructive behavior.
“I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school. Being a teenager is chaotic because you’re kind of coming into your own, but you’re not an adult; you’re fighting with your parents over responsibilities and freedom.
“I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong, so I think I created this bizarre system of checks and balances to create order in my world. But it really backfired.”
Although she kept her struggles secret from her friends and family, Bellisario’s classmates soon found out.
She continues, “I felt this sadness, and I thought if people really knew what was going on inside me, they wouldn’t want to hang out with me. So I tried to keep it light and funny.
“They (friends) got a hold of my journal and basically said, ‘We don’t trust you, and we’re gonna tell your parents.’ That was when my world kind of exploded. It was kind of like an intervention. It made me ask myself, ‘What do I really want to be doing? What would make me happy?'”
And, despite finding fame on the U.S. TV series, Bellisario insists she still faces many insecurities.
She explains, “Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I don’t belong. I just look around at (co-stars) Lucy (Hale), Shay (Mitchell), and Ashley (Benson), and I’m just like, ‘Why am I on this show?’ Sometimes I’ve felt like a fraud. Like, I’m not like these other girls – I don’t dress like that and don’t know how to do my hair…
“Whenever I get down, when I want to crawl under a rock, I just look around at them and I see how rich my life is. You have to remember what’s most important in life. I am loved by so many people and have a wonderful job. I know I’m incredibly blessed. I am a completely lucky human being.”