We have to admit, we admire Zayn Malik’s honesty when it comes to discussing mental health issues – like anxiety and eating disorders – that young men are so often afraid to talk about.
The former One Direction star has again impressed us during an interview with The Sunday Times over the weekend, during which he discussed the strict regulatory element of his condition.
He said: “Every area of my life was so regimented and controlled, it was the one area where I could say, ‘No, I’m not eating that.’
“Once I got over the control, the eating just came back into place, super naturally. Not supernaturally! Just really naturally.”
The person who helped him get back on track, despite him being in the glare of the media eye? His mum, of course.
“I came back to the UK and spent some time with my mum and got some TLC,” he said, “and she cooked me food and I got back in touch, mentally, with a lot of the things I’d lost.”
Zayn first spoke about struggling with an eating disorder in his autobiography, where he described going for days at a time without eating anything.
“When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was,” he said.
When he left One Direction in 2015 during a world tour, Zayn played his part in battling the stigma surrounding male anxiety disorders when he publicly revealed that he had been signed off of work with stress.
“Stress and mental ill health are major issues today, especially with young people,” Dr Sandi Mann, stress expert and senior lecturer in psychology told The Independent in praise of Zayn’s honesty at the time. “We need to teach young people to cope with stress and mental health problems in schools so I hope this will help raise awareness for young people and the general public.”
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence estimates around 11% of those affected by an eating disorder are male.
For more advice on help and treatment for eating disorders, visit the Beat.co.uk website here.
And guys, being open about your vulnerabilities and seeking help when you need it is strong, smart and attractive. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Ladies, pass the message on. We need more Zayn Maliks in our lives.