Christopher Eccleston 'surprised' by reaction after revealing anorexia and mental health struggles

Amy Johnson
·2-min read
English actor Christopher Eccleston arrives for the 47th Annual International Emmy Awards at New York Hilton on November 25, 2019 in New York City. - The International Emmy Award is an award ceremony bestowed by the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in recognition to the best television programs initially produced and aired outside the United States. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Christopher Eccleston pictured at the 47th Annual International Emmy Awards last November. (AFP via Getty Images)

Christopher Eccleston was expecting a negative reaction last year when he opened up on his struggles with anorexia and mental health. However, that wasn't the case.

The Doctor Who star received an outpouring of support when he bravely spoke out about his troubles in his autobiography I Love the Bones of You, noting he felt it was a "filthy secret" due to being northern, male and working class.

In an interview with The Scotsman, the 56-year-old shared: "I was glad to get that monkey off my back and it’s very easy for me now to speak to people just generally and say, ‘oh I suffered from anorexia, I suffered from depression, I was hospitalised’.

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"I’ve found it opens up others and I’ve been surprised how many have given me their stories. I thought society would react to me in a negative way but that was not the case and I feel easier in my skin for having spoken about it.”

Actor Christopher Eccleston arrives on the red carpet for the World Premiere of “Thor: The Dark World” in Leicester Square, London, on Tuesday Oct. 22, 2013. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP Images)
Christopher Eccleston on the red carpet for the world premiere of Thor: The Dark World in 2013. (Invision/AP)

In his book, Eccleston detailed how he had wanted to reveal being a "lifelong anorexic and dysmorphic" many times in his life.

The actor will be returning to TV next week in The A Word for the show's third series, but it was during the making of the first season that he began contemplating suicide after falling into clinical depression after the breakdown of his marriage in 2015.

“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.

Christopher Eccleston is returning in the BBC's The A Word. (Matt Squire/BBC/Fifty Fathoms)
Christopher Eccleston is returning to the screen in the BBC's The A Word. (BBC/Fifty Fathoms)

“I was 100% sure I was in the last few weeks of my life.”

Following treatment, Ecclestone said he was prescribed antidepressants and could be on them "for the rest of [his] days".

For confidential emotional support at times of distress, contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing