Christopher Eccleston has been hailed for his bravery after he revealed that his long battle with anorexia made him contemplate suicide.
The former Doctor Who actor, 55, opens up about his struggle with the eating disorder and depression in his upcoming autobiography I Love The Bones Of You.
In newly released excerpts, the star calls himself a ‘a lifelong body-hater’ and says he was ‘very ill’ during his stint as the Time Lord in 2005.
The actor, who won acclaim for reinventing the Doctor for a new generation of fans in 2005, said he was struggling with serious mental illness during the making of the sci-fi series.
Fans have now praised him for raising awareness of mental health and body image issues, especially among men.
‘Many times I’ve wanted to reveal that I’m a lifelong anorexic and dysmorphic,’ he says.
‘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 says he started to think about taking his own life when he was filming BBC drama The A Word, and sought help.
The father-of-two reveals his anorexia was prevalent during his spell on the BBC drama. Eccleston says he was diagnosed with severe clinical depression following the breakdown of his marriage to Mischka, 20 years his junior
Mr Eccleston said that it was during filming for the BBC drama The A Word that he contemplated taking his life
He said: ‘I was in a state of extreme anxiety, convinced I was either going to die or I was going to kill myself.
‘In my despair I reached for my phone and looked up a psychiatric hospital, I rang ahead, grabbed my bag and ran.’
While lying awake in hospital, the star became convinced he was going to die. He said: ‘I was 100 per cent sure I was in the last few weeks of my life.’
The actor has been praised by fans, with many thanking him for raising awareness.
‘Thank you Christopher Eccleston for speaking up about your struggles with anorexia and body image issues,’ said one person on Twitter.
‘Not enough public awareness about body image issues and mental health complexities men experience.’
Another said: ‘I have so much respect for Christopher Eccleston for being so open and brave to talk about this.
‘Eating disorders in men are real and valid and there should be much more awareness surrounding them. I really hope he is doing better now.’
Eccleston won acclaim for reinventing the Time Lord for a new generation of fans in 2005, has revealed he was struggling with serious mental illness during the making of the sci-fi series
Many also noted the actor’s bravery in opening up.
‘Extremely courageous of Christopher Eccleston to share his mental health journey,’ one fan tweeted.
‘He’s one of our finest actors, hopefully his honesty in getting the support he needs will encourage others to do the same.’
‘Oh gosh. I’m very moved by Christopher Eccleston’s courage in speaking up,’ said another.
‘I hope more men who are struggling are inspired to reach out for help.’
The father-of-two revealed that his anorexia was prevalent during his spell on Doctor Who, adding: ‘The illness is still there raging within me as the Doctor. People love the way I look in that series, but I was very ill. The reward for that illness was the part. And therein lies the perpetuation of the whole sorry situation.’
Eccleston says he was diagnosed with severe clinical depression following the breakdown of his marriage to Mischka, 20 years his junior.
His road to recovery began when he was finally diagnosed with severe clinical depression and prescribed antidepressants.
‘I am on them to this day. 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.’
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.