As the battle for the Iron Throne has come to an end, some Game of Thrones actors have recently opened up about how finding fame on the hit show has adversely affected their mental health.
While many fans and viewers of the 38 time Emmy-winning show have come to relate, sympathize with, and even mourn certain characters, we’re beginning to get an inside look at what life was like off-set for actors Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams.
“I Have Experienced Mental Illness Firsthand”
23-year-old actress, Sophie Turner revealed she suffered from depression while playing her stoic character, Sansa Stark.
“I have experienced mental illness firsthand, and I’ve seen what it can do to the people around [the sufferers] as well,” she said in the June issue of Marie Claire Australia. “[In my teen years] my metabolism suddenly decided to fall to the depths of the ocean and I started to get spotty and gain weight, and all of this was happening to me on camera.”
Turner, who began filming the show at only age 17, said that she found the harsh criticism of herself on social media difficult to deal with and it began to take a toll on her.
In another interview, with Dr. Phil, the actress got even more candid about those struggles and opened up about her past thoughts of suicide.
“It’s weird. I used to think about suicide a lot when I was younger. I don’t know why though,” Sophie continued. “Maybe it’s just a weird fascination I used to have, but yeah, I used to think about it. I don’t think I ever would have gone through with it. I don’t know.”
“Everyone Needs A Therapist”
Turner also opened up about some of the harsh comments she would receive on social media, affecting her ability to work. “People used to say, ‘Damn, Sansa gained 10 lbs’ or ‘Damn, Sansa needs to lose 10 lbs’, or ‘Sansa got fat.’ It was just a lot of weight comments,” explained the actress.
After the harsh criticism, the actress spiraled into numerous bouts of depression, revealing that she would “cry and cry and cry over just getting changed,” to the point where she no longer wanted to go out or do anything.
Realizing that she needed to make a change, Turner sought out therapy.
“Everyone needs a therapist, especially when people are constantly telling you you’re not good enough and you don’t look good enough. I think it’s necessary to have someone to talk to, and to help you through that,” she said.
In addition to the therapy, the 23-year-old also began taking medication, and gives credit to her new husband, Joe Jonas as the catalyst to help her battle her depression.
Sitting In a “Hold of Sadness”
Turner’s on screen sister, Maisie Williams, found widespread acclaim as she portrayed the feisty and headstrong, Arya Stark. Cast on the show at the young age of 13, Williams opened up on Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast about her experience of coping with the worldwide fame.
In the interview, the now 22-year-old said that there was a duration of time where she became extremely depressed after being overwhelmed by criticism on social media.
“It gets to a point where you’re almost craving something negative, so you can just sit in a hole of sadness,” Williams said. She also explained that her quick acquired fame made her feel the need to act like everything was “fine” when it was actually far from it. The actress revealed she’s made progress with the inner criticism and mental health. She noted, “last year, I think in my own personal life, I went through a lot of revelations where I was like, ‘I’m not very happy doing this and pretending that everything’s fine.’
She continued, “that wasn’t like a public thing, but after going through that, I’ve tried to be a lot more genuine. It just becomes a lot more relaxing after that. Once you drop it all, that’s when you can really have fun. I just took a step away from it all.”
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.