Maisie Williams [known in Game of Thrones as Arya Stark] says there was a “huge period” of her life when “I’d tell myself every day that I hated myself”.
The Game of Thrones star says that growing up in the public eye, she felt pressure to pretend “that everything is fine” when actually she wasn’t very happy.
“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 said on Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast.
“I think we can all relate to that – telling ourselves awful things.”
The 22-year-old says she used to find it “impossible” to ignore what people were saying about her on social media.
“It got to me a lot, because there’s just a constant feed in your back pocket of what people think of you.
“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.”
Maisie says, eventually, “I just took a step away from it all”.
The actress, one of the few people whose character has made it to the end of Game of Thrones, says she still lies “in bed at night telling myself all the things I hate about myself”.
But she says she’s started to try and unpick why she is doing that.
“I think so many of these problems are linked to things in your past or whatever, and as soon as you start digging and start asking yourself bigger questions than ‘Why do I hate myself’ – it’s more like ‘Why do you make yourself feel this way?’
“The answers to all of these questions really are within you.
“It sounds really hippy dippy and like ‘Look within you to find peace’, but it is true and at the end of the day you’re making yourself feel this way for a reason.”
Maisie says although she managed to come out of a period when she felt “very sad”, it’s “terrifying” that she might “slip back into it”.
“I’m still definitely really struggling with that, really struggling to let sadness wash over me without it consuming me.
“I think it’s really hard to feel sad and not feel completely defeated by it.”
Maisie says she’s learned that “everyone is a little bit sad”.
“It was really eye-opening to me to understand that.
“But the more we talk about it and help one another, I think that’s really important.”