Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams has bravely opened up about the struggles throughout her mental health journey.
The 22-year-old spoke candidly on Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast about her experiences of coping with worldwide fame ever since she was a preteen.
In the interview, Williams explained that her notoriety at such a young age often made her feel responsible to assure herself and others “everything is fine” no matter what she was actually feeling.
“It got to the point where I’d be in a conversation with my friends and my mind would be running and running and running and thinking about all the stupid things I’d said in my life, and all of the people that had looked at me a certain way, and it would just race and race and race,” Maisie explained. “We’d be talking and I’d be like, ‘I hate myself’…
“I think we can all relate to that — telling ourselves awful things. When I started digging in and thinking about why I’d said those things, actually it was nothing to do with myself.”
The intense social media interest in her Game of Thrones character Arya Stark also created an environment for Williams where she felt compelled to read negative social comments.
“It got to me a lot, because there’s just a constant feed in your back pocket of what people think of you,” she said.
“It gets to a point where you’re almost craving something negative so you can sit in a hole of sadness, and it’s really bizarre the way it starts to consume you.”
While Williams admits to still laying “in bed at night telling myself all the things I hate about myself” at times, she has since realised the importance of self-care.
“I just took a step away from it all,” she recalled.
Now that Game of Thrones is coming to an end this weekend, Williams will be taking a break from acting to live some semblance of a “normal” life where she doesn’t need to be a “perfect girl”.
Addressing where her mental health journey is today, she explained: “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’.
“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.”
Her co-star and close friend Sophie Turner also recently spoke about the way early-life fame on Game of Thrones impacted her own mental health.
This article first appeared on ELLE.