Maisie Williams is opening up about how portraying one of television’s most famous characters impacted her sense of self-worth.
In an interview on the Happy Place podcast released on Monday, the 22-year-old “Game of Thrones” star, who began playing Arya Stark when she was only 12 years old, spoke at length about how becoming famous at such a young age negatively affected her mental health and self-esteem.
“I went through a huge period of my life where I’d tell myself every day I hated myself,” Williams said.
Many of these negative thoughts were sparked by what Williams would read about herself on social media, the actress added.
“It’s just a constant feed in your back pocket of what people think of you,” she said. “And I think we’d all like to say that we would turn a blind eye and wouldn’t care, but it’s impossible to do.”
Williams shared that sometimes the judgment would completely consume her.
“It gets to a point where you’re almost craving something negative, so you can just sit in a hole of sadness,” she said.
The actress’ mother tried to help Williams curb her social media anxiety by checking her social media accounts for her, and if she saw anything that could upset her daughter, she would tell Williams to stay offline for a while.
Now as an adult, Williams has tried to move past what people have said about her online — and is making some strides — but the actress does admit that some harsh comments have stuck with her to this day.
“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.”
Sophie Turner, Williams best friend and “Game of Thrones” co-star who also started on the show at a very young age, revealed last month that she dealt with depression while working on the HBO smash hit.
As the fantasy series comes to an end later this week, Williams says that she’s looking forward to being a little less visible.
“Honestly, I want a normal life,” she said during her interview. “I don’t want any of this crazy, crazy world because it’s not worth it.”
Williams said that her first step in trying to find happiness is to stop trying to be who people want her to be and to focus on herself.
“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.”
To hear the whole interview, head over to the Happy Place podcast here.