Jessica Brown Findlay ''felt so alone'' after battling an eating disorder from the age of 14.

The 'Downton Abbey' star has suffered from an eating disorder for over 10 years and admits it left her wanting to hide away, although she is starting to finally accept her body for what it is.

She said: ''I've had an eating disorder since I was 14. And I think that we can feed certain ideas of what beauty is and what success is and I just feel there has to come a time where those aren't the rules anymore, and then we can have a mature conversation about what that is about, and about depression ...

''[In] therapy, really looking at myself and deciding I was going to help myself feel safe and good and healthy, and talking about it ... I felt so alone for so long, and I just hid. Then I started talking and held my head up and instead of saying sorry decided to tell myself that I matter. For a while, I really shied away from things. It's about learning to stand up and say, 'This is me, and that's OK.' I'm not going to be a better actor if I'm a dress size smaller. It's nothing to do with my brain.''

And the 27-year-old actress hopes by using her platform to speak out about it, she will be able to help others who are suffering too.

She added to the Daily Telegraph newspaper: ''If you are lucky enough to speak and be heard, it might be useful to others.

''The more we have brave discussions like that, the easier it is to talk about things, and the less alone we can feel. It's certainly made me feel less alone.''