1664745861 House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke says she suffered

‘House of the Dragon’ star Olivia Cooke says she suffered a ‘complete mental breakdown’ at age 22: ‘It was bad’

House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke opens up about her experience with depression.  (Photo: REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska)

House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke opens up about her experience with depression. (Photo: Portal/Maja Smiejkowska)

House of the Dragon actress Olivia Cooke is open about her mental health, sharing that she experienced a “complete mental breakdown” at the age of 22.

The British actress, now 28, told the Observer she struggled with loneliness while filming A&E series Bates Motel in Canada.

“I’m so thankful for this job, but I’ve had a really tough time doing it,” says Cooke, who played Emma Decody in the Hitchcock-inspired drama that ran from 2013 to 2017. They all had different storylines, so I spent a lot of my Time in this apartment in Vancouver where I worked once every two weeks.”

By 2016, that sense of isolation had turned into full-fledged depression, she tells the British publication.

“It was a big old beautiful cocktail: being homesick and not knowing it, not having stopped being alone for long periods of time since I was 18,” she says of her “complete nervous breakdown.” “It was bad, bad. Terrible actually.”

But the Sound of Metal star didn’t step away from acting to focus on her mental well-being.

“Oh no, I worked all the way through,” says Cooke, who was filming both Ready Player One and Thoroughbreds at the time. “I was very good at hiding it. If anything, I thought, let myself escape.”

It wasn’t until 2019 that she noticed a more significant respite from “the incessant, persistent, anxious thoughts” that plagued her. Cooke, who now stars as Alicent Hightower in HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, says she’s in a “sweet spot” these days – something she attributes to her new TV gig after a move back to London a split from girls actor Christopher Abbott and a chance to take some kind of break amid the pandemic. And while she’s still months away from her 29th birthday, she’s excited to see what lies ahead.

“You wouldn’t pay to go back to 22,” she says. “Well, I wouldn’t.”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255, or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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