A PLL Fave Has Been Struggling with a Mental Disorder for YEARS

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Since 2010, Pretty Little Liars has kept us on the edge of our seats with each mind-blowing episode. So it’s no surprise that by now, the girls have become experts at keeping secrets and telling lies. And, apparently, the girls are also great at keeping secrets IRL. In 2014, Troian Bellisario admitted to her past battle with an eating disorder, but there’s ANOTHER PLL star who has come clean about her struggles.

On PLL, Ashley Benson plays Hanna Marin — a fierce female who exudes confidence and serves up sass every week. However, in a new interview with Health, Ashley opened up about a secret she’s kept for years, and it’s not pretty. For YEARS, Ashley has been struggling with an ongoing fight against a mental disorder — and fans had no idea. According to Ashley, her issues with anxiety began five years ago, when she started getting panic attacks, like many of her fellow female celebrities.

“I think it was 2011 to 2013. I could barely go to work. It would get so bad that I would have to leave set. Or I’d be driving, and I would have a panic attack,” Ashley told the mag. Ashley’s panic attacks became such a serious issue that she even had incidents “every single day,” including the days she spent on the PLL set. “I had heart palpitations, and I thought I was having a heart attack, so I fainted on set and turned blue. The paramedics were there.” WHOA.

While fans might be outraged that they’re only hearing about this now, Ashley had her reasons for keeping her mental disorder a secret. “If you’ve never felt it, you can’t explain it. The person I was seeing at the time didn’t understand, and my friends didn’t understand, so there weren’t people I could talk about it to. I felt crazy. ‘Why am I feeling this way?’ I think a lot of people suffer from anxiety and have panic attacks,” she explained.

Nowadays, Ashley’s has less intense incidents with her anxiety disorder. Rather than take Xanax, she has resorted to healthier options. “I decided I was going to be able to self-medicate through meditation, working out, sleeping, eating healthy and drinking more water.” Hmm, maybe that explains why she’s always posting healthy (and mouth-watering) recipes and workout vids on Snapchat. Ashley also uses a meditation app regularly, and makes sure she takes hour-long naps on days when she doesn’t get enough sleep. Her current tactics seem to be working, because she has experienced significantly less anxiety attacks. “There will be times where I will get [anxiety], but it’s not a full-blown panic attack,” Ashley said. Stay healthy, Ash!

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