Postpartum depression: It’s something that can affect any woman, even a fab Hollywood badass like Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey. In a new interview, Headey discusses how she was dealing with postpartum depression during filming of Game of Thrones‘ first season. At first, she had no idea why her inner self was suffering — it was such a contrast to her tough-as-nails character, Cersei Lannister. Now, years later, Headey is finally ready to open up about how it impacted her and her work.
“I was postnatally depressed but I didn’t know it,” she said in a new interview with Net-a-Porter’s digital magazine, The Edit. “I saw a doctor for the medical check, and I just burst into tears. She said I was postnatally depressed and I went, ‘Am I? Why is that?’ I saw a great guy and he sorted me out, but I did the first year [on Game of Thrones] in that space, figuring out motherhood and going through a weird time personally. It was tricky.”
Headey says she has suffered from bouts of clinical depression since she was a teenager and managed it with medication, which she had to stop taking when she became pregnant with her son.
“Then I had postnatal depression, which I didn’t realize for a long time,” she said. “I went a bit nuts and eventually went to a guy who mixes Western and Eastern philosophy in terms of medicine and he put me on a course of something that changed everything. But I would never want to be dependent [on medication].”
While Headey’s choice worked for her — she’s reportedly healthy and happy now — medication is a tool that all women who suffer from depression, clinical or postpartum, should consider with the help of a trained medical professional. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this debilitating condition reportedly affects as many as 1 out of 9 women. It’s an issue that is slowly being discussed by more women, but Headey’s contribution to the conversation through her own honesty about the experience is still very meaningful.
We’re glad Headey got her depression under control and that she’s still kicking ass on Game of Thrones.