Depression, Drinking, Self-Harm: Disney Alum Christy Carlson Romano Writes About Her Battle

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A former Disney star penned a powerful essay describing her struggles as a child actor. Christy Carlson Romano, who played Ren Stevens on Even Stevens and provided the voice for the title character in the animated show, Kim Possible, says the public saw her as a perfect child, but that wasn’t her reality.

Romano says her life off-screen was nothing like her character’s. She worked all day on set, tried to make friends with cast members and was tutored at home. Romano says she was jealous of “normal kids” and it led her down a dark path, which she describes in an essay she penned for Teen Vogue.

“I have never been perfect or pulled together as my reputation or the successes of my young adulthood might suggest. I grappled with depression, drinking, and more, desperate to find fixes for how I felt.”

The young actress decided to leave Hollywood when Even Stevens came to end. People said it would end her acting career, but Romano says she wanted to, “run away from the responsibility of fame and toward a glamorized fantasy of adolescence.”

The teen star started college but left for a job on Broadway. That career choice was a tough move, she says, as many people criticized her youth. The pressure left Romano with a “harder-edge,” and pushed her to find ways to calm the frustrations that built up.

As a result, Romano started to binge-drink and harm herself by scratching her skin. Romano’s search for a solution even led her to buy a crystal for $40,000 from a psychic who claimed it would help the lost actress find the right path.

“I was willing to go to desperate lengths to try to have someone else tell me what my truths were.”

Romano says it took her years to find her own way. Eventually, she went back to school where she met her husband in a screenwriting class. Since then, the two have had two daughters, with the most recent one, Sophie, arriving February 18, according to People.

Now the mother of two is redefining her acting career. She’s decided to use the power of social media to create her own brand and is launching a cooking show on YouTube, Christy’s Kitchen Throwback, in June.

As the Disney alum looks toward a new future, she encouraged others to do the same in her essay.

“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.”