Chrissy Metz This Is Us
Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Whether she’s speaking out about body positivity or kindly telling fans she doesn’t need their medical advice, but thanks, This Is Us star Chrissy Metz is always refreshingly real. Now, the actress is opening up about her life in a new memoir, and the details she’s revealing about her often painful childhood are heartbreaking. But they also illuminate that Chrissy Metz, like her This Is Us character, Kate, is strong as hell.

In This Is Me, which hits bookshelves next week, Metz talks about her journey from growing up in poverty to becoming an Emmy-nominated actress, as well as the physical and emotional abuse she endured from her stepfather, whom she called Trigger, along the way:

Trigger went on to demand Metz weigh herself in front of him when she became a teen, and berated her when the numbers on the scale went up, Metz details.

She often would hide in the bathroom or get up in the middle of the night to sneak food like chips and cookies. “We had lived with a lack of food for so long that when it was there, I felt like I had to eat it before it disappeared. Food was my only happiness,” she writes. “[I’d eat] things I could eat as fast as possible to avoid detection, things that would give me the brief bliss of numbness.”

Insecurity continued to plague Metz in young adulthood, but she’s finally reached a place where she embraces confidence instead, as she recently told Harpers Bazaar while posing for a sexy photo spread. “I used to be Kate,” Metz said of her often insecure on-screen alter-ego, “but now, I’m so far removed from that.”

Metz says her relationship with Trigger is complicated, and the two are still in touch today.

“I’m a tough cookie,” Metz told People. “But it’s one of those things that attempts to break your spirit.” While we’ve seen Metz’s Kate Pearson face incredible obstacles and pain on This Is Us, knowing Chrissy Metz has been through so much in real life and made it this far makes us admire her even more.