Gemma Oaten has shared a shocking photo taken at the height of her anorexia battle aged 19.
The actress, 36, posted the snap, which shows her looking dangerously thin while clad in pyjamas and revealed it was taken just before she suffered a heart attack.
Gemma shared the harrowing photo alongside a snap of her looking healthy and happy in the present day to celebrate how far she had come in her battle - and mark her new role as acting manager at charity SEED Eating Disorders Support Services.
She captioned the snap: 'Today I am very proud to announce that I am taking on the role of Acting Manager of my family’s charity SEED Eating Disorders Support Services @seeduk_ed.
'This is a full circle for moment for me & I wanted to share a little about my journey:
'The picture on the left was a photo I found recently taken when I was suffering from anorexia & it broke my heart to look at it. You can see the impact this devastating mental health illness had on my family & I.
'I also am aware that this image may be difficult to look at for many of you.
'The image was taken just before my heart attack when I was just 19 years old. The picture on the right is me 3 days ago. Recovery is possible & there is hope.
'Thank you @nickyjohnston and @jenhawkins_hmua for capturing the woman I am today as I take on the role of charity manager in order to support SEED's growth, deliver our goals & build awareness of the charity & eating disorders.
'The charity was founded by my mother @margoaten MBE & father Dennis Oaten because they nearly lost me to this vicious disease.
'My parents have worked tirelessly over the last 20+ years to help & support 1000's of those affected by eating disorders, but now - sadly - they must step down from the day to day running due to ill health.
'As with many charities, COVID-19 has hit us hard financially, so I have decided to step into this role & continue the hard work that my parents have put into this wonderful, life changing & life saving organisation.
'It's been an emotional & overwhelming time. I am determined & ready to fight to save our charity & change the way eating disorders are viewed, to get SEED the support it deserves & in turn allow #SEED to help the 1.6 million people in the UK alone who are affected by an eating disorder.
'A mental health illness that has the highest mortality rate of any other.
'If you are reading this & an eating disorder has touched your life or the life of those close to you, please do reach out to SEED for support.
'Never give up. We're not giving up on you. Have faith & always hope.'
The former Emmerdale star first formed a complicated relationship with food at the age of ten before being diagnosed with an eating disorder just two years later.
Speaking to The Sun in June she said: 'I just restricted my eating completely. I constantly felt fat. It was just a spiral. I became a prisoner of my own mind...
'I would be pumped with calories, drugs and potassium and shipped back out. There was no funding to put me anywhere that was specialised.'
Gemma said that she was warned by doctors that if she didn't eat or drink anything within 24 hours she would be dead.
Childhood: Gemma (pictured left aged 9 and right 10) first formed a complicated relationship with food at the age of ten before being diagnosed with an eating disorder just two years later
And she has been battling numerous health issues since as a direct result of her anorexia.
The soap star said: 'My eating disorder was always there and waiting to pounce. At 18, it spiralled again and I had a heart attack. A year later at 19, I had a bowel prolapse [when the rectal wall slides out].'
The health scares served as a wake up call for Gemma who said she decided to start seeing a therapist and has now been in recovery for 13 years.
But she continues to take a tablet each day to help her bladder, which was weakened by the bowel prolapse, as well as medication for her stomach and laxatives to relieve internal pressure.
For help and support with eating disorders contact SEED on (01482) 718130 or visit www.seedeatingdisorders.org.uk
Disturbing: Gemma (pictured left age 18 and right 19) has been battling numerous health issues since as a direct result of her anorexia
Article originally appeared : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-8815293/Gemma-Oaten-36-shares-shocking-photo-taken-height-anorexia-battle-aged-19.html