Alyson Stoner opened up about one of the lowest moments of her life, revealing she went through conversion therapy in 2018.
Conversion therapy is described as a practice to forcibly change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. At least 20 states have banned the practice on minors.
The Suite Life of Zach & Cody star recently spoke to Insider and admitted she struggled to come to terms with her sexuality because it conflicted with her religion. Stoner, who identifies as pansexual, said her struggles worsened after she fell in love with another woman.
"I felt stuck. I felt wretched. I felt like everything was wrong with me," Stoner, 27, explained. Shortly after, she said she admitted herself into an "outpatient variation" of conversion therapy "because I just wanted to do the right thing."
Stoner admits what she experienced while undergoing conversion therapy three years ago is "legitimately difficult" to discuss.
"My mind doesn't want to even go there," the actress confessed, noting that trying to recall the memories makes her shake. "I'm not capable yet of going back and recounting specifics, which is an indicator of just how difficult that chapter was for me."
The Mind Body Pride author hopes her story will serve as a cautionary tale for others considering conversion therapy, noting, "The dangers are measurable."
LGBTQ youth who undergo conversion therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to those who do not, reports LGBTQ suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project. Stoner admits the therapy made her wonder if her "life was worth living."
"Even if someone comes out of it on the other side and says, 'Hey, no, I'm living a great life,' there are scars there. There are shadows," she expressed, noting she now understands that her sexuality is "very natural."
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, or worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK] for free confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even if it feels like it, you are not alone.