“The biggest challenge for me is just getting out of bed and getting out of the house,” Turner, 23, said in a podcast interview with Dr. Phil McGraw. “Learning to love yourself is the biggest challenge I think.”
It came as somewhat of a shock when Sophie Turner, actress on “Game of Thrones”, known as Sansa Stark to onlookers announced that the highlight of her ‘depression years’ were in the peak of her career.
She felt rather alone when back at home, with all her friends off to college and at 17, she started to feel the effects of social media and the physical effects of being a teen which sent on a downward spiral.
“It only kind of started to go downhill I think when I started to hit puberty, and really puberty though at like 17, and my metabolism was like slowing down massively and I was gaining weight,” she said on the podcast. “Then there was the social media scrutiny and everything and that was when it kind of hit me.”
Now married to Joe Jonas, Sophie first premiered in Game of Thrones on HBO in 2011, with it’s final season currently airing, drawing in over 17 million viewers, the actress described the period of social media throughout that time as a “bit of a catalyst” in her depression.
“You see 10 great comments and you ignore them but one negative comment and it just like throws you off,” she said. “People used to write, ‘Damn, Sansa gained 10 pounds,’ or ‘Sansa needs to lose 10 pounds,’ or ‘Sansa got fat.’”
She furthermore mentioned how the comments about her skin and acting skills really shook her.
“I would just say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.’ I just believed it,” she said, describing herself at the time as having “no motivation to do anything or go out,” even with her closest friends.
“It would just affect me creatively. I couldn’t be true to the character because I was so worried about Sophie,” Turner said. “I don’t think I viewed myself as worthy of anything that I was doing.”
Sophie opened up about how her co-star Maisie Williams was her biggest ally throughout this time – struggling through the exact same battle, together.
“Being friends with each other was quite destructive because we were going through the same thing,” Turner said of Williams, who was a bridesmaid at her wedding to Jonas. “We never socialized for a couple of years. We didn’t socialize with anyone but ourselves.”
Sophie also went on to thank Maisie for all her support, helping her work through her depression saying, “She’s unapologetically herself and she’s funny and she’s really smart and she’s in her own lane.”
Now, with the help of the correct medication, therapy and support from Jonas, she says that she’s happier and healthier today.
“I love myself now, or more than I used to,” she said. “And I suppose when someone tells you they love you every day, it makes you realize why that is, and I think it makes you love yourself a bit more.”
Sophie came out with her situation on mental health a day after Bebe Rexha revealed her own suffering with bipolar disorder, writing a string of emotional tweets about how she is “not ashamed anymore.”
Sophie also said that she hopes other celebrities will feel more confident in talking openly about their mental health, not making it a trend, but to show others the reality of what ordinary people are going through every day.
The WHO estimated more than 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Those are huge numbers.
Sophie is further using her platform to assist in ending the stigma surrounding mental health, making the resources available to help those suffering from the illness, including her native home, the UK.
“People talking about it isn’t a trend, it’s just people actually being transparent for the first time,” Turner said. “People … should realize that mental health problems are everywhere, in almost every person that we know. I just think it’s so important to talk about it.”
“It’s like a broken arm. You go and get the help that you need,” she said. “There shouldn’t be any stigma.”
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