Gemma Oaten has penned an emotive post detailing the moments she was ‘at the worst’ of her battle with anorexia.
The former Emmerdale star, 36, shared a gallery of candid images after detailing how she nearly died five times in 13 years due to her struggles with the eating disorder.
Gemma who has spoken openly about her battles with anorexia in the past, added that she was a ‘prisoner in her own mind’ while she struggled to overcome the disorder.
Candid: Gemma Oaten has penned an emotive post detailing the moments she was ‘at the worst’ of her battle with anorexia
In a lengthy Gemma offered context to each of the images she shared, with 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 unit to holiday with her family.
The third photo came when she was 20, holding her baby nephew while undergoing therapy for her anorexia battle, while the final image was taken when she was just 11, with Gemma claiming she’d been ‘turned away for treatment.’
Gemma admitted in the caption she’d been reluctant to share images from her time battling anorexia, but decided to speak out to urge her followers to seek help if they were going through the same thing.
Tough: The former Emmerdale star shared a gallery of images after revealing she nearly died five times in 13 years due to her struggles with the disorder (pictured in 2019)
Difficult: Alongside an image from when she was 18 years old, the second snap (above) was taken when she was 13 after being allowed to leave a psychiatric unit to holiday with her family
Struggles: The third photo came when Gemma was 20, holding her baby nephew while undergoing therapy for her anorexia battle
Early stages: The final image was taken when she was just 11, with Gemma claiming she’d been ‘turned away for treatment’ for her eating disorder as her weight wasn’t ‘low enough’
She wrote: ‘I want to share them with my narrative as to why… Not because it’s just a shocking image that encapsulates an eating disorder. Because the truth is… It DOESN’T.
‘So I’m Sharing a few photos I’m ready to share & ones I haven’t before. Why? Because my why is that I want to show you what happens if early intervention isn’t implemented.
‘Pic 1 – 18yrs old, holding my baby niece who I didn’t get to hold straight away as I was in hospital and then had a heart attack.
‘Pic 2 – 13yrs old, having my first holiday after being taken out of the psychiatric unit by my parents because what I was witnessing was horrific.
Difficult: Gemma admitted she’d been reluctant to share images from her time battling anorexia, but decided to speak out to urge others seek help
‘Pic 3 – 20yrs old, trying to claw back my life in intense therapy, again my nephew hardly getting to see me.
‘Pic 4 – 11yrs old, having been turned away for treatment because I wasn’t “low enough in weight to have a problem”
‘See? It’s 1 thing nearly dying 5 times over 13 yrs, but the biggest pain for me is the years lost & these photos..the smile in them all, knowing how I truly felt. In pain. A prisoner in my own mind.
‘This is why our Eating Disorders Educational toolkit is vital. We can make a difference through education to find a solution to early intervention & prevention.
‘If you would like more info for your school or organisation please email [email protected] and we will also send you a link to our FREE schools resource.
Disturbing: Gemma (pictured left age 18 and right 19) has been battling numerous health issues since as a direct result of her anorexia, which began when she was just 10
‘Remember, there may be photos when someone is thin & to “represent an eating disorder”… But that isn’t the full picture.
‘The number on a scale doesn’t define an eating disorder or a life we need to help save to survive and more importantly THRIVE. You are worthy.’
Gemma 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.
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.
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.
Days before a heart attack: Last year, Gemma shared a shocking photo taken at the height of her anorexia battle aged 19