The Game of Thrones star admitted that around the time she turned 17, she was hit with depression. This would have been around four years after beginning to film the epic fantasy series, and it stemmed from the repeated negative comments about her character, Sansa Stark.
“It’s weird," she said. "I say I wasn’t very depressed when I was younger, but I used to think about suicide a lot when I was younger. I don’t know why though,” she said. “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.”
Turner explained that the constant barrage of negativity about her looks, the character she portrayed, and other criticism lead her to that way of thinking.
“People used to say, ‘Damn, Sansa gained 10 pounds’ or ‘Damn, Sansa needs to lose 10 pounds' or ‘Sansa got fat.’ It was just a lot of weight comments, or I would have spotty skin, because I was a teenager, and that’s normal, and I used to get a lot of comments about my skin and my weight and how I wasn’t a good actress,” she explained.
“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. I would get [the costume department] to tighten my corset a lot. I just got very, very self-conscious.”
The mounting negativity crescendoed to a climax when Turner realized she no longer wished to leave the house, spend time with her friends, or do much of anything at all while dealing with the seemingly never-ending barrage of comments from supposed "fans" of the series.
“I just would cry and cry and cry over just getting changed and putting on clothes and be like, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t go outside. I have nothing that I want to do."
Eventually, Turner sought therapy, and things began to improve. She hesitated to divulge the situation to her parents at first until they began noticing various bills for the visits, and then decided to let them in on her struggle. However, Turner states she's suffered with her depression for "five or six years," and while she's in a much better place now, with fiancé Joe Jonas at her side and a supportive network of friends and family, she knows how she got there: therapy, medication, and learning to love herself.
"I'm on medication and I love myself now, or more than I used to, I think," she shared. And now that Game of Thrones has finished filming, she will be taking a break from acting for a while to focus on her mental health. We wish her the very best – after bringing us one of the most complex characters on Game of Thrones for eight seasons, we'd say she's absolutely deserved some time off, and hope she can relax, recharge, and come back to acting when she's ready.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).