Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner is the most recent actress to prove strong, successful people also grapple with depression.
During an appearance on Dr. Phil McGraw's podcast, Phil in the Blanks, the actress behind Sansa Stark opened up about her mental health battles, which she credits to growing up under public scrutiny.
Turner revealed she didn't suffer from mental illness during her childhood. Depression reared its head when she turned 17 — about four years after she first appeared on the hit fantasy series.
"The biggest challenge I’ve had, and I’ve had it for the longest out of all my mental health problems, is my depression," she said. "I’ve suffered with depression for about five or six years now, and the biggest challenge for me is just getting out of bed, getting out of the house and learning to love yourself."
"I say I wasn’t very depressed when I was younger, but I used to think about suicide a lot when I was younger," she continued. "I don’t know why though. 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."
She went on to share depression really "hit" her when she would come across offensive comments on social media about her weight and acting abilities. At the time, most of her friends were at university, so she was alone with no support system.
"It started to go downhill when I started to hit puberty and was gaining weight and there was the social media scrutiny and everything," she explained. "You see ten great comments and you ignore them, but one negative comment, it throws you off. People used to write ‘Sansa gained ten pounds’ or ‘Sansa needs to lose ten pounds...' I used to get a lot of comments about my skin and my weight and how I wasn’t a good actress."
The social media toxicity tore down her self-esteem.
“I would just believe it. I would say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.’ I would just believe it," she said. "I would get [the costume department] to tighten my corset a lot. I just got very, very self-conscious."
Her depression reached the point that even leaving the house or heading out for a bite with friends felt like massive tasks.
"I wouldn’t want to see them," she said. "I wouldn’t want to go out and eat with them. I would cry and cry and cry over just getting changed and having to put on clothes."
Turner shared that she's in a much better place now, thanks to therapy and treatment. She also gave a special shout-out to her fiance, Joe Jonas, who helped her re-learn how to love and appreciate herself.
"I love myself now, or more than I used to, I think. I don't think I love myself at all, but I'm now with someone that makes me realize, you know, that I do have some redeeming qualities I suppose," she said, referring to Joe. "When someone tells you they love you every day, it makes you really think about why that is, and I think it makes you love yourself a little bit more, so, yeah, I love myself."
It's not every day that celebrities open up about their battles with mental health, and someone as influential as Turner could encourage others to seek help. When Dr. Phil praised her for her transparency, she said it was her goal all along. She hopes her honesty will save lives.
"That is absolutely what I hope," she said. "That’s the payoff that I would like, for people to not feel so alone and to feel encouraged to talk to someone about it."