Gemma Oaten bravely reveals how she nearly died four times during 13-year anorexia battle

The 34-year-old posted pictures of herself from the age of nine through to 22 showing the impact the illness had on her body.

Her upload on World Mental Health Day saw her encourage sufferers to talk about their problems, telling her followers she only got better when she started to talk about her issues.

She wrote: "For 13 years anorexia took over my life and nearly took my life. It was a rollercoaster. Truly. One minute I'd be fed up (literally) in hospital, a psychiatric unit or an eating disorders unit and the next I'd lose the weight because my mind still wasn't fed properly…the issues I had were in my state of mental health.

"Anorexia was my control, my comfort, my escape… Or so I thought. No problem we have mentally is ever resolved unless we talk and feel it. I spent my teens in and out of these units and hospitals. But it wasn't until I found a way of being able to talk and address that I truly began to get better. I nearly died 4 times…

"That's the power mental health has when it's goes wrong. I was unsure whether to share the photos but they are mild in terms of how truly ill I was, I don't think I could ever show those ones. It's too disturbing, for me and others.

"My point is, I'm not ashamed of my past struggles. They moulded the woman I am today in so many ways. I wish I had spoke out sooner and had the correct help I needed but that was then and this is now."

Gemma admitted she still suffers from anxiety, but by talking openly about it she's able to control it. She added that she might tell her full story one day, but for now she's content with helping other voice their own problems.

The actress's followers were left in tears after reading the honest post.

They wrote: "your story made me cry your such an inspirational woman I am so proud of you Gemma ♥♥♥.

"Now I just feel so bad about what I put my parents through. They saved my life and even though they wouldn’t have it any other way, I feel such a deep debt. I don’t think that will ever go away.

"I just want to give you a big hug xx.

"Inspirational ❤️."

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