Dr. Who star says he was anorexic while in role

Christopher Eccleston reveals secret in new book

By Rory Sullivan, CNN
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(CNN) - Christopher Eccleston, the British actor who starred as the ninth Doctor in the long-running sci-fi series "Doctor Who," has spoken out about his struggle with anorexia and suicidal depression.

In his upcoming autobiography, "I Love the Bones of You," Eccleston talks about his mental health, describing himself as a "lifelong body-hater."

Eccleston, who brought the Time Lord to a new audience with the show's 2005 revival, acknowledged the difficulty of speaking out, writing: "Many times I've wanted to reveal that I'm a lifelong anorexic and dysmorphic.

"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 grappled with anorexia during his tenure as the Doctor: "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."

In 2015, following the end of his marriage, he thought about killing himself. He subsequently checked himself into a psychiatric hospital, where he was diagnosed with severe clinical depression.

Eccleston's recovery started after the diagnosis, he writes, when he began to take prescribed antidepressants.

"I am on antidepressants 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," he writes.

"I Love the Bones of You" is published by Simon & Schuster in the UK on Thursday.

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