This story contains discussion of body image issues.
Tyler James Williams opened up about a terrifying health scare he endured earlier in his career.
He told Men's Health that this was after his stint on the teenage sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, when he was trying to do more adult-geared projects.
"I was trying to read for roles that were my age and I couldn't get out of high school," Tyler recalled.
Tyler said his inability to get the kind of roles he wanted led him to extreme measures to change his appearance, recalling that he'd "hired trainers, lifted heavy, and force-fed himself."
“I was really pushing my body to the limit,” he said. “By the time December  hit, it just crashed. Everything shut down.”
Tyler said he couldn't keep anything down and developed a bad stomach pain, prompting him to seek medical attention. After an X-ray, it was determined that he had Crohn's disease, an inflammatory condition that can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, and malnutrition. It can be deadly if left untreated.
Tyler said he had to have emergency surgery after the flare-up, getting six inches of his lower intestine removed. But because his intestines had already been so damaged, he ended up going into septic shock.
Tyler added that his whole body started "vibrating" after he went septic and said he thought he was going to die: “The last thought I had was Holy shit, this could be it. If this is it, I’m not happy. I worked a lot. I did a lot of things. I didn’t enjoy any of this. This can’t be it.”
Tyler ended up having to eat intravenous foods and use an ostomy bag for months after his surgery, but luckily, he made a full recovery.
“When I woke up and eventually got back to [being] myself, it was like, what would make it not suck?” he recalled.
Tyler said he ultimately found purpose through roles like playing Gregory Eddie on Abbott Elementary and also by changing his thinking around health.
“I had to learn how to stop making a dramatic change happen really quickly and learn how to have a better relationship with my body,” he explained. “The important thing for me, and those like me, to remember is that longevity is a big part of the game. If you can’t [stay strong] and be healthy, there really is no point.”
You can read everything he had to say here.
The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.