Doctor Who and Thor: The Dark World star Christopher Eccleston is speaking out about his lifelong struggle with mental health, including battles with the eating disorder anorexia as well as body dysmorphia. Eccleston reveals these issues in his upcoming autobiography, I Love the Bones of You in which he reveals that he hadn't previously spoken out, partly because of cultural stigma surrounding the illness.
According to The Guardian, Eccleston revealed in the book that he had long wanted to come forward with his struggles. The actor even declares himself to be "a lifelong body hater" and admits that he's considered his body issues to be a "filthy secret".
"Many times I've wanted to reveal that I'm a lifelong anorexic and dysmorphic," he wrote. "I never have. I always thought of it as a filthy secret, because I'm northern, because I'm male, and because I'm working class."
Eccleston also revealed in the book that he was battling anorexia while filming Doctor Who. Eccleston played the Ninth Doctor, helping to kick off the popular series' revival in 2005 and notes that the positive response to his appearance in Doctor Who contributed to the vicious cycle of his illness.
"People love the way I look in that series, but I was very ill," Eccleston wrote. "The reward for that illness was the part. And therein lies the perpetuation of the whole sorry situation."
Eccleston also goes on to explain how he was ultimately depressed with clinical depression in 2015 after separating from his wife. It was a time in his life where he admits that he considered killing himself but ended up seeking help instead.
"I was in a state of extreme anxiety, convinced I was either going to die or I was going to kill myself," Eccleston wrote. "In my despair I reached for my phone and looked up a psychiatric hospital, I rang ahead, grabbed my bag and ran."
Eccleston is now in recovery, something that is an ongoing process aided by antidepressants. While Eccleston notes that he'd like to someday reduce his dose, he admits they've been helpful to his recovery.
"I am on them to this day," he wrote. "I could be on them for the rest of my days. I do have an issue with that. I would like to attempt slowly to reduce the dose, to experience reality again, to see how I do ... And yet, interestingly, I have received some of the best reviews of my life since I started taking them."
Eccleston may be best known for his role as the Ninth Doctor in 2005 but didn't return for a second season of Doctor Who, explaining previously that he realized that he and the director were never going to be able to compromise, leading to his departure.2comments
"It's very important on a first series that you make a very informed and intelligent choice, even if it means breaking the budget," he said. "About getting the first director who is going to set the tone for the season, for the way actors relate and that did not happen. Disaster."
"I'd had enough," he said. "I wanted to do it my way, they wanted something else. We were never going to compromise so it was best to be straight about it and just go."