On Thursday, March 21, Emilia Clarke revealed in an essay for the New Yorker that she had suffered from two brain aneurysms during the early seasons of Game of Thrones, requiring her to undergo surgery that at times had her unsure if she would ever recover.
On Friday, the actress shared a message of thanks to her fans, posting an Instagram video in which she discussed how much she appreciated the support she's received since revealing her story.
“I had to put a video up to say thank you,” she told fans. “The response from my story has been overwhelming and deeply and profoundly moving, so thank you so much.”
View this post on Instagram
🙏🏻 A million million thank you’s to everyone who has read shared and sent love for my story, it’s a beautiful thing to behold and I can’t quite believe how many of you this has affected! #❤️@sameyouorg is ready to hear your stories, how you recovered and what could have made that recovery experience better. By hearing your stories we can build a case for an improved aftercare experience for all in the future...who wouldn’t want that! #sameyoucharity #love #sometimestheworldshowsyouwhatkindesslookslike #thankyou #❤️ #💪🏻 #🙌
"A million million thank you’s to everyone who has read shared and sent love for my story, it’s a beautiful thing to behold and I can’t quite believe how many of you this has affected!" she added in the caption.
Clarke also used the post to share more about her charity, SameYou, which she launched after sharing her story and encourages others to share their stories of recovery.
“[SameYou] is ready to hear your stories, how you recovered and what could have made that recovery experience better,” she wrote. “By hearing your stories we can build a case for an improved aftercare experience for all in the future…who wouldn’t want that!”
The 32-year-old revealed in her essay that she experienced her first aneurysm in February 2011 after a training session at the gym.
"My trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain," she wrote. "I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn’t. I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain — shooting, stabbing, constricting pain — was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged."
Doctors found a second aneurysm in Clarke's brain, but decided to monitor its progress. It later grew in size to a degree that doctors recommended surgery, but the procedure did not go as planned, resulting in a massive bleed. The actress immediately underwent brain surgery, calling that recovery "even more painful than it had been after the first surgery."
"I spent a month in the hospital again and, at certain points, I lost all hope. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye," she recalled. "There was terrible anxiety, panic attacks. I was raised never to say, 'It’s not fair'; I was taught to remember that there is always someone who is worse off than you. But, going through this experience for the second time, all hope receded. I felt like a shell of myself."
Clarke has now made a full recovery and decided to start her charity, which she has been working on for a few years and aims to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke.0comments
"I feel endless gratitude — to my mum and brother, to my doctors and nurses, to my friends. Every day, I miss my father, who died of cancer in 2016, and I can never thank him enough for holding my hand to the very end," she wrote. "There is something gratifying, and beyond lucky, about coming to the end of Thrones. I’m so happy to be here to see the end of this story and the beginning of whatever comes next."
Photo Credit: Getty / Dia Dipasupil