EXCLUSIVE: Lindsey Stirling on How She Emerged From ‘Terrifying’ Cocoon of Depression and Anorexia

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Feeling stuck in a “cocoon” of terrifying depression and anorexia, Lindsey Stirling wondered if she would ever experience feelings of happiness again.

But after quickstepping around the Dancing With the Stars ballroom in a stunning monarch butterfly-inspired outfit with dance pro Mark Ballas on Monday, the YouTube star opened up to ET about how she was able to emerge from her dark struggles.

“I feel like I had to go through my own cocoon process,” she told ET’s Cameron Mathison, explaining how she related to the transformative theme of her performance, in which she and Ballas started out as caterpillars then emerged from a giant cocoon as butterflies. “I think everybody does, and for me personally, it was that I struggled with anorexia and depression for years and at certain times I thought, ‘It’s too hard to get out of this.’”

“I was stuck in a caterpillar phase, but I had to go through that transformative hard work,” Stirling continued. “It was like a full-time job to get over anorexia, for two years. And I came out the other side and honestly feel like everybody can be and feel beautiful. That’s the most important thing -- how you feel about yourself.”

While the gorgeous 31-year-old emphasized that she worked hard to make it through her personal struggles, she admitted that she also experienced many moments of “helplessness.”

Having learned all too well what it feels like to hit rock bottom, Stirling hopes that by sharing her story she can help others going through tough times.

“When I was going through the midst of it, you wonder, ‘Will I ever really, truly be happy? Will I ever been able to get over this?’” she shared. “And that’s what I want to show. I’m so vocal about this issue because I made it through and I came out the other side [but] I know how it feels to be in the middle of it and the terrifying nature of it -- and the hopelessness. I wanted with this dance, I wanted to give people hope that they can thrive.”

See more on Stirling in the video below.