Probably one of the most popular shows of all time, Game of Thrones has certainly been a household name for the last 8 years. The show itself has achieved so much throughout the series, including 128 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and 38 wins to date.  But what about the stars of the show, who have made this all possible; has this rise to fame been everything it’s cracked up to be?
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark in the HBO hit show, has recently shared how her fame from the series has had a negative impact on her mental health and self-esteem. In an interview with Happy Place podcast, Williams explained the challenges of navigating life as a teenager while managing the fame attributed to Game of Thrones. 
Being cast as Arya Stark at the young age of 13, Williams said there was a period of time where she was negatively affected by criticism on social media, leaving her feeling overwhelmed and depressed. “It gets to a point where you’re almost craving something negative, so you can just sit in a hole of sadness,” Williams said. 
Although she has taken steps to move past her feelings of sadness and depression, she still thinks about the online criticism. “I still lie in bed at 11 o’clock at night telling myself all the things I hate about myself. It’s just really terrifying that you’re ever going to slip back into it.”
Now that the show has come to an end, Williams is looking forward to things quieting down so she can experience a “normal life.” She also shares that the first step to finding her happiness is to stop trying to be who people want her to be, and instead, focus on being herself.
Williams’s show sister, Sophie Turner, who was cast as Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones has also battled depression throughout the show. In an interview on the Phil in the Blanks podcast with Dr. Phil, Turner shared how there were times she would struggle just to get out of bed and learning to love herself was a big challenge. 
Turner explains that depression only became an issue around 17 years old, in the height of the show and as puberty began to set in. “My metabolism was like slowing down massively, and I was gaining weight. And then there was the social media scrutiny and everything, and that was when it kind of hit me.” Although not the cause of her depression, Turner says social media was definitely a “catalyst” for her depression.
Thankfully, by seeking treatment and therapy, Turner has taken the necessary steps to begin loving herself again. Through her own experiences, she has also become interested in the field of psychology. She hopes to use her position to help more people struggling with depression get the help they need, in both the U.K. and America.
Mental health and depression are nothing to be ashamed of. They are illnesses that can impact anyone, as you have seen here today. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental health, please do not be afraid to reach out for help.