Helping you get through tough times

Pretty Little Liars star talks about self-harm

Troian BellisarioTroian Bellisario, better known as Spencer Hastings in Pretty Little Liars has recently spoken about her struggles with an eating disorder and self-harm.

In an interview for the February 2014 edition of Seventeen magazine she spoke about striving for perfection while she was in school. This, she said, is what kick-started a self-destructive period in her life.

Wanting to please

Troian described being the youngest daughter and wanting to be the perfect little girl. “My school was a very intense college prep school” she said, “it was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody”.

Bottling it up

She felt like she would be disowned by her family if she expressed feelings of sadness or anger and so kept it “bottled up inside…it turned into self-destructive behaviour”.

Coping mechanisms

Self-harming is often used as a way of coping with emotional distress, or to help provide a feeling of control.

It can also be used to express difficult feelings and sometimes to communicate to people that you need support.

Getting help

Learning to manage emotions in a way that’s not harmful to yourself is key to changing behaviour around self-harm and eating disorders.

The key to stopping hurting yourself is acknowledging the behaviour and reaching out to others for support.

Universal struggle

It’s easy to imagine people we look up to have perfect lives. We forget they’re human too.

Despite being in a successful TV show, Troian says she’s been lacking confidence most of her life. “Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I don’t fit in” she says, describing it as an ongoing struggle.

Own worst critic

No-one’s struggle is exactly the same, but feeling like you’re not good enough or ‘don’t fit in’ are difficult feelings. Remember, we’re all our own worst critic.

Learning some positive self-talk and working on your self-esteem can go a long way to helping you break a cycle of destructive behaviour.

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