Given our culture’s sick obsession with weight, it’s no surprise that women in the spotlight feel enormous pressure to be thin, whatever the cost. For Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, that pressure triggered an eating disorder; as part of the recovery process, she enlisted a companion, or live-in therapist.
In a new cover interview with Elle, Turner opened up about her experience with disordered eating for the first time, sharing the progress she’s made as well as the new social media habits that have helped her heal.
“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,” Turner told Elle.
Now pregnant with her second child with husband Joe Jonas, she recalled a time when her companion had to pull her out of a spiral of dark thoughts with the “best advice” she ever got: “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 companion] 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.”
While online comments used to “completely consume” her, she now uses Instagram only “for a few minutes once or twice a week,” and recently took the app off her phone, which she says was a big improvement. She’s also continued therapy.
“I still have to do [a therapy session] every week. Occasionally, I go on a retreat to check myself, and I still have days when I feel depressed or anxious,” she said, adding, “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.”