- HBO/”Game of Thrones”
- The “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke wrote a personal essay in The New Yorker revealing her experience with two brain aneurysms.
- Clarke wrote that in 2011 and again in 2013, between filming seasons of the HBO Show, she underwent brain surgery and intense recoveries in hospital intensive-care units.
- Now she says she’s founded a charity to “help increase rehabilitation access after brain injury and stroke.”
- Read more about the charity, Same You, here.
The “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke has published a personal essay in The New Yorker titled “A Battle for My Life,” revealing her survival of two brain aneurysms.
As Clarke said, the first of these aneurysms was discovered when she was working out with a personal trainer following the first season of filming “Game of Thrones” in 2011. She collapsed in the gym bathroom after vomiting because of what she said was diagnosed as “a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain.”
Clarke said the hospital staff told her about one-third of SAH patients died “immediately or soon thereafter.”
- Helen Sloan/HBO and Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Clarke’s recovery from the first (“minimally invasive”) brain surgery was hard. She said she was held in the intensive-care unit for a week because of a condition called aphasia – Clarke was unable to say her own name or speak in anything other than “nonsense” words.
The aphasia passed, and after a full month in the hospital Clarke was discharged and returned to work to film the second season of “Game of Thrones.”
But the doctors had warned her of a second, smaller aneurysm on a different spot of her brain.
“On the set, I didn’t miss a beat, but I struggled,” Clarke wrote. “Season two would be my worst. I didn’t know what Daenerys was doing. If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die.”
By 2013, after the third season of “Game of Thrones” was completed, Clarke went in for her then-routine brain scan and was told the aneurysm needed to be operated on.
This time surgery didn’t go as smoothly. The first procedure failed, and the doctors needed to open her skull. The second aneurysm was fixed, but Clarke spent another month in the hospital and described a painful recovery involving a deep sense of hopelessness and anxiety and panic attacks.
Clarke kept her surgeries from the press, and though the “Game of Thrones” showrunners knew, she did not want it to affect her work and the publicity tours around the seasons. She said she attended San Diego Comic-Con “a few weeks after that second surgery.”
- Kevin Winter/Getty Images
“But now, after keeping quiet all these years, I’m telling you the truth in full,” Clarke wrote. “Please believe me: I know that I am hardly unique, hardly alone. Countless people have suffered far worse, and with nothing like the care I was so lucky to receive.”
“The charity I have been working on for a fair few years goes live today!” Clarke wrote on Instagram. “@sameyouorg full to bursting with love, brain power and the help of amazing people with amazing stories. @newyorkermag published my story, now I’d like to hear yours!”
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????THE MOST EXCITING NEWS EVER FOR THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!???? The charity I have been working on for a fair few years goes live today!!! ???????????? @sameyouorg is full to bursting with love, brain power and the help of amazing people with amazing stories. @newyorkermag published my story, now I’d like to hear yours! #sameyoucharity #sameyourecovery #braininjury #letschangehowwehelp #letsbreakthesilence #youarenotalone #love #❤️
According to its website, Same You will aim to boost “primary research with the Stroke Association UK to understand the recovery needs” of people who experience brain injuries and strokes, particularly young people. Clarke was 24 when her first stroke hospitalized her.
Other aims of Same You include funding clinical research and forming a new neurorehabilitation training qualification.
“I am calling for the prioritization of increased funding for neurorehabilitation,” Clarke’s blog on the Same You site said. “Everyone after leaving hospital should have the multi-disciplinary rehabilitation and recovery care they desperately need.”