Being thrust into the spotlight at an early age is a lot for anyone to handle, and such was the case for Maisie Williams, who began working on Game of Thrones — her first real acting gig — at the tender age of 13. Not to mention the fact that the George R.R. Martin novels that the series was based on already had a fairly rabid fan base before a single episode aired.
Williams opened up about dealing with her sudden fame on the “Happy Place” podcast this week, and how the negative comments online had an affect on her mental health. “It gets to a point where you’re almost craving something negative, so you can just sit in a hole of sadness,” she explained.
Now at 22, Williams has found ways to cope with the negative attention, but says it’s still a regular struggle to keep herself from going back to that place:
“I still lie in bed at, like, 11 o’clock at night telling myself all the things I hate about myself,” Williams said. “It’s just really terrifying that you’re ever going to slip back into it. That’s still something that I’m really working on, because I think that’s really hard. It’s really hard to feel sad and not feel completely defeated by it.”
“Honestly, I want a normal life,” she said. “I don’t want any of this crazy, crazy world because it’s not worth it.”
She added that the first step to happiness was the realization that she needed to focus on being herself, as opposed to what others projected onto her. “It sounds really hippy-dippy and like look within you to find peace, but it is true,” she said. “At the end of your day, you’re making yourself feel this way for a reason.”
Williams is not the only one who has had a difficult time coping with Thrones fame. Just last month Sophie Turner opened up about her own struggles with criticism, and that she even experienced suicidal thoughts over her feelings of self-consciousness.
With just one episode left in the series, it would seem that the worst is now behind them — not counting whatever goes down in Sunday’s series finale.