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Former Disney Star Christy Carlson Romano Opens Up About Struggle With Alcohol And Self-Harm

The name Christy Carlson Romano will ring a bell for any OG Disney Channel fans out there. Romano is best known for her work on the hit TV show Even Stevens, the classic Hilary Duff film Cadet Kelly, as well as voicing Kim Possible on the iconic Disney animated show, Kim Possible.

So, what's the sitch?

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Christy just opened up in a new, tell-all essay exclusively for Teen Vogue where she updates fans on life after her teenage stardom died down.

She begins by saying she has kept most of her struggle to herself, in contrast to her "Evens Stevens" co-star Shia LaBeouf, who has notoriously struggled publicly.

"While many witnessed my costar Shia LaBeouf struggle publicly, I have largely suffered in silence. I am not a victim, but I have never been perfect or pulled together as my reputation or the successes of my young adulthood might suggest."

Christy explains she began acting at six years old, and felt pressure to become a singing, dancing and acting "triple threat."

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"While I was adept at change and very driven in my art form, I was delayed in some developmental milestones that one often has in their preteen years that adequately inform their early adulthood and help them make the right decisions during hard times. I only learned to ride a bike at 12 years old because I had a callback for a cereal commercial."

Romano continued, "I had very few friends my own age and lacked the ability to communicate my emotions effectively due to my insecurities with being different."

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"Needing to be liked was my full-time job and constant concern of mine."

Romano explains the pressure of being on a hit Disney show was overwhelming, "Nothing could have prepared me for fame and the responsibilities that came with being on television screens everywhere."

"I was somewhat protected (or stultified) by staying on my set and making friends with whoever showed up to be cast as my best friend that week."

After a childhood filled with grueling work schedules and instability, Romano confesses leaving Hollywood and going to college became her biggest dream.

"I had a swinging confidence in my abilities which pushed me to get on camera, perform, and make money. My personal value was irrelevant until validated by my most recent accomplishment."

"I had no idea how much money I had in the bank or had made since starting a grueling workload, and I was told that leaving Hollywood right after Even Stevens would ruin my career."

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"In retrospect, it probably did. But in my heart, I was running away from the responsibility of fame and toward a glamorized fantasy of adolescence."

After Romano's experience at her Ivy league school flopped, she tried to run back to the theater community in New York City, but found no solace there either.

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"I became a bit harder-edged, binge-drank more at loud nightclubs, and started to accept the transient natures of love, sex, and friendship. Growing up, I entertained thousands of families only to feel completely lonely. People were as replaceable as they had deemed me to be."

"Then I began to flirt with other methods of self-destruction," Romano confesses.

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"I tried to scratch my skin with my fingernail because I was too scared to use a knife. I chickened out and honestly felt like I had failed some important race to win the trophy for 'most tragic, beautiful girl.'"

Romano credits her husband for quieting the voices of negativty in her head.

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"I struggled with all of my relationships, alcohol usage, and career path for 10 years before going back to school and re-centering myself. I ended up meeting my husband in a screenwriting class and found in him a companionship that would take a mallet to the tape that had been screaming in my head all those years."

"I am happy to say that we got married and now have two beautiful daughters."

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Romano's closing message? Remember your self worth — "having a clear understanding of your personal value helps to positively shape everything you do. If you don’t, if you aren't careful, you just might end up getting what everyone else wishes for but wondering what you want yourself."

We're so proud of the growth and self love Christy has shown herself, and I can't wait to see what she does next!