Gemma Oaten has revealed that she ‘nearly died’ four times during her 13-year battle with anorexia.
The former Emmerdale star, 36, admitted that she lost more than a decade of her life to the disorder after being admitted to a psychiatric ward when she was just 11 years old.
Gemma describes her struggles with anorexia in a film that aired on ITV’s Lorraine on Thursday and told Dr. Alex George that she didn’t “understand” the condition until she had had months of therapy.
Candid: Gemma Oaten has revealed she ‘nearly died four times’ during her 13-year battle with anorexia (pictured in 2016)
According to The sun, in the film, Gemma takes Alex back to her school in Hull, Yorkshire, revealing that she first started battling anorexia when she was 11.
She says, “I lost thirteen years of my life and almost died four times. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.
“It’s not about food – food is the symptom, it’s not the cause.”
“When you are surrounded by an eating disorder, which is a health disease, the misconception is that you choose to have an eating disorder.”
Difficult: The Emmerdale star admitted she lost more than a decade of her life to the disorder after being admitted to a psychiatric ward when she was just 11 years old
Gemma, who starred as Rachel Breckle on Emmerdale from 2011 to 2015, has openly explained her battles with anorexia and previously revealed that she ended up in a psychiatric ward when she was only 11 years old.
In explaining the causes she revealed, it came back to being bullied and not being able to control what people were saying about her.
In March she told the Loose Women panel, “I was ten years old [when I developed an eating disorder] and afterwards I realized it was bullying and I had no control over what people said about me.
Difficult: Gemma (pictured in Emmerdale as Rachel Breckle) describes her struggles with anorexia in a movie airing on ITV’s Lorraine on Thursday
WHAT IS ANOREXIA?
Anorexia is an eating disorder and mental illness.
People diagnosed with it try to keep their weight as low as possible by eating little or excessive exercise.
Men and women can develop the disease, but it usually starts in the mid-teens.
People with anorexia may have a biased image of their body, thinking they are fat, when in fact they are seriously underweight.
Causes of the condition are unknown, but those who suffer from it either have low self-esteem, have a family history of eating disorders, or feel pressured by society or at work.
Long-term health complications can include muscle and bone problems, decreased sex drive, kidney or intestinal problems, or a weakened immune system.
Treatment for anorexia can include cognitive behavioral therapy.
‘I didn’t know that then, I didn’t even know what anorexia was. A year later, I was placed in a psychiatric ward, where I was told that if I didn’t eat or drink within 24 hours, I would be dead.
She went on to explain how the pandemic has exacerbated some people’s problems, saying, “ I think lockdown has created a massive pressure cooker for all of us.
And especially in eating disorders where it’s mental illness where we use it to control things we can’t and right now we can’t control anything so I’m not surprised by the catastrophic numbers.
“Early intervention is so important, waiting for it to change will not change what is already there and we should not try to fix an eating disorder based on physical characteristics.”
She added that many people those who are not considered ‘losing weight’ still have problems and issues such as binge eating and restrictive eating disorders are not discussed enough.
The actress continued: ‘None of these things are discussed. Bulimia and binge eating can be deadly, and it is [eating disorders] has the highest death rate of all other mental illnesses and we need to talk more seriously about it. ‘
Earlier that month, Gemma shared a gallery of candid photos after describing how she died nearly five times in 13 years from struggling with the eating disorder.
Gemma, who has spoken openly about her struggles with anorexia in the past, added that she was a “ prisoner in her own mind ” as she struggled to overcome the condition.
In a lengthy post, Gemma provided context to each of the photos she shared, the first being when she was 18 years old holding her baby niece, and the second taken when she was 13 after being allowed to leave a psychiatric ward to work with her. to go on vacation. family.
Disturbing: The star (photo left 18 and right 19) who has spoken openly about her battles with anorexia, previously said she was a ‘prisoner in her own mind’
The third photo came when she was 20, holding her nephew while she was undergoing therapy for her anorexia battle, while the last photo was taken when she was only 11, with Gemma claiming she had “ been turned down for treatment. ”
Gemma admitted in the caption that she had been reluctant to share images from her time battling anorexia, but decided to speak out to urge her followers to seek help if they experience the same.
Gemma first developed a complicated relationship with food when she was ten years old, before being diagnosed with an eating disorder two years later.
And since then she has been dealing with numerous health problems as a direct result of her anorexia.
For help and support with eating disorders, contact SEED on (01482) 718130 or visit www.seedeatingdisorders.org.uk.
Struggle: She explained the causes and revealed that it came back to being bullied and was unable to control what people were saying about her (pictured at 18, with her baby niece stuck)