A source of support. Sophie Turner revealed that she once had a “live-in therapist” to help her through recovery from an eating disorder while speaking the effects of negative social media comments.
“I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I wish I’d never got myself involved with it in the first place,” the Game of Thrones alum, 26, told Elle for their June cover story, which was published on Wednesday, May 4. “I look at the comments on Instagram and think, ‘Oh, f–k. Everyone thinks this about me.’ It would completely consume me.”
Turner then noted that the best advice she ever got about dealing with negative comments came from a mental health professional.
“For a long time, I was quite sick with an eating disorder and I had a companion. I don’t know if you know what a companion is? It’s a live-in therapist, who would ensure I wasn’t doing anything unhealthy with my eating habits,” she explained. “One night, I was playing over and over in my mind a comment I’d seen on Instagram. I was like, ‘I’m so fat, I’m so undesirable,’ and spinning out.'”
The England native continued: ‘She said to me, ‘You know, no one actually cares. I know you think this, but nobody else is thinking it. You’re not that important.’ … That was the best thing anyone could have told me.”
Turner previously opened up about the way social media affected her mental health, explaining during an April 2019 appearance on the “Phil in the Blanks” podcast that she began to suffer from depression when she was on Game of Thrones. “The character that I play on my show is called Sansa, and people used to say, ‘Damn, Sansa gained 10 lbs’ or ‘Damn, Sansa needs to lose 10 lbs’ or ‘Sansa got fat.’ … I used to get a lot of comments about my skin and my weight and how I wasn’t a good actress,” she recalled. “I would just believe it. I would say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.’ I would just believe it. I would get [the costume department] to tighten my corset a lot. I just got very, very self-conscious.”
The Staircase actress credits therapy and her now-husband Joe Jonas with helping her heal. “I [sometimes] don’t think I love myself at all, but I’m now with someone that makes me realize I do have some redeeming qualities, I suppose,” Turner said at the time. “And when someone tells you they love you every day, it makes you really think about why that is and I think that makes you love yourself a bit more. So yeah, I love myself.”
While speaking with Elle, the X-Men: Dark Phoenix star touched on some of the other methods she uses to look after her mental health. “I have noticed that social media makes me incredibly anxious and it’s something I try to distance myself. Having it off my phone has been so helpful,” she explained. “Now, if I do have to go on it, it’s for a few minutes once or twice a week, rather than hours every day. It’s made such a difference.”
She continued: “I still have to do [therapy] every week. … I still have days when I feel depressed or anxious [but] it’s manageable now – I have the tools. I know what’s good for me and what’s not good for me. I know what I have to do to get myself in a good headspace. It’s not debilitating – I know how to get myself out of it.”
If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder, visit the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD) website or call their hotline at (888)-375-7767 to get help