Emilia Clarke is speaking out for the first time about suffering two life-threatening brain aneurysms that left her in so much pain she asked the hospital staff to “just let me die.”
In an essay published in the New Yorker on Thursday, the actress says the first aneurysm happened in 2011 during a workout, right after she wrapped up filming season one of “Game of Thrones.”
“My trainer had me get into the plank position and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain,” she recalls. “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.”
The 32-year-old then describes being rushed to the hospital and the mildly invasive surgery that came next. She had what’s called “endovascular coiling,” where a catheter is used to reach the aneurysm in the brain. The catheter is passed through the groin up into the artery containing the aneurysm.
Waking up from the surgery, Clarke describes the pain saying it was “unbearable” and she “no idea where I was.” The actress says later she suffered a condition called “aphasia,” which made her forget her name and she went into a “blind panic.”
“My full name is Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke, but now I couldn’t remember it. Instead, nonsense words tumbled out of my mouth and I went into a blind panic,” the “GoT” star remembers. “I’d never experienced fear like that — a sense of doom closing in. I could see my life ahead, and it wasn’t worth living. I am an actor; I need to remember my lines. Now I couldn’t recall my name.”
Clarke admitted, she “asked the medical staff to let me die,” because she was so scared she’d never fully recover.
She says season two of “GoT” was her worst. “I didn’t know what [my character] Daenerys was doing. If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die.”
Two years later, Clarke went in for an annual brain scan and the doctor informed her they had to “take care” of a second aneurysm. They performed the same procedure as last, but it didn’t take. Doctors were forced to perform another procedure which went directly through her skull.
Clarke describes that recovery as “even more painful than it had been after the first surgery,” adding, “I looked as though I had been through a war more gruesome than any that Daenerys experienced.”
The actress says stayed in the hospital for a month and suffered “panic attacks” because she was “convinced that I wasn’t going to live.”
The actress is happy to say, she “healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes” and is now helping others who have suffered brain aneurysms through a charity called, SameYou.