“Game of Thrones” actress Sophie Turner, in a podcast interview with “Dr. Phil” star Phil McGraw Tuesday, opened up about her personal experiences with depression, suicidal ideation and the ways social media influenced her deteriorating mental health.
The 23-year-old English actress, who plays Sansa Stark on the hit HBO show, revealed she suffered with depression for about five or six years.
“The biggest challenge for me is just getting out of bed, getting out of the house and learning to love yourself,” Turner told McGraw on his “Phil in the Blanks” podcast.
Her depression began with puberty, around age 17, and was exacerbated by social media cyberbullying, though Turner doesn’t believe that was the driving factor.
She did, however, internalize online comments about her weight or skin as well as negative comments regarding her acting performance.
“I would just believe it,” she said. “I would just say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. Yeah I am fat. I am a bad actress.’ And I just believed it.”
Unmotivated to even spend time with friends, Turner said she “would cry and cry and cry over just getting changed and having to put on clothes.”
At one point in the interview, she told McGraw about prior suicidal ideations.
After seeking therapy and starting treatment for depression, the star feels she’s doing much better.
“I love myself now more than I used to,” she said. “I’m with someone that makes me realize I do have some redeeming qualities, I suppose, and 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 bit more.”
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people of all ages.
Recent studies have also shown that young girls and teenagers who use social media often may experience more depressive symptoms compared to their male counterparts.
But as the World Health Organization notes on its website, there are effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for the disorder.
Experts also said talking openly about your own experiences, as Turner did this week, can “further erode the stigma associated with mental illness, help individuals who suffer realize that they are not alone and help them understand that treatment works,” University of Michigan psychiatrist Gregory Dalack told the Huffington Post in 2016.
If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, call or text the 24-hour hotline at 800-273-8255. For more information, go to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
- Suicide prevention resources for parents, guardians and families
- Suicide prevention resources for teens
- Suicide prevention resources for survivors of suicide loss
- More resources and programs at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
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