This year's season of Dancing On Ice has heavily focused on the relationship between professional figure skater Vanessa Bauer and her skating partner Wes Nelson, following a post made about Vanessa by Wes' girlfriend Megan Barton-Hanson, and Megan and Wes' subsequent break up.
The 21-year-old's Instagram is mostly dedicated to her behind the scenes antics, and sharing words of pride about her skating.
However, Vanessa just opened up further about the pressures she felt growing up, and how certain comments, combined with her circumstances, saw her fall prey to a destructive eating disorder.
Sharing a gorgeous picture of herself posing in underwear, she wrote: 'Before I started shows I would have never thought I’d be comfortable in front of the camera in a bikini or much less in underwear!'
'Every day I was told I am too fat (which I wasn’t!) and it did nothing but making my confidence shrink into nothing! At 13, when my skating career started to take off, circumstances, comments and many voices made me fall into a combination of eating disorders.'
'Completely ASHAMED and always wanting to be the best in everything I did, I hid my struggles – for 4 years.' Appearing as the strong Vanessa nobody would have EVER thought of my mental health issues. 4 years later, I could not handle the pressure anymore. I fell into depressions on top of my eating disorders.'
Vanessa explained that her skating coach did not want to help her, nor was she offered any support: 'My coach found out about my MENTAL HEALTH SITUATION and didn’t want to have anything to do with the girl who ended up in psychological therapy !! It was the most devastating years of my life but I still managed to hide the whole situation from everybody around me,' she continued.
'I CONTINUED TO EXCEL at school and appeared STRONG until nobody was around. I had my therapist to vent and that was it. I thought I FAILED and it was my very own fault that I got these mental health issues.'
I was embarrassed at myself and thought these years were a period I will always have to hide because it shows a WEAK SIDE of me.'
However, the skater concluded that she knew her true love in life was skating, and she needed to be healthy and well to keep that as a part of her life.
She added: 'I have fallen in love with taking care of my body and I'm still working on my mind.'
'If you are struggling SEEK HELP. Admitting, accepting and sharing are the first steps to recovery. You're not alone.'