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Emilia Clarke Reveals She Couldn't Look At Herself After Her Brain Aneurysm Surgery

Over the years that Emilia Clarke was filming Game Of Thrones, she was also facing some very difficult health challenges that not many of us knew about.

After opening up about it in an essay about the hardship she was facing in her personal life, she's now revealing even more heartbreaking details.

In March, Emilia Clarke confessed in an essay that she had survived multiple life-threatening brain aneurysms while "Game Of Thrones" was running.

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The essay, titled, A Battle For My Life, revealed the unfortunate details of her diagnosis, surgeries, and recovery.

She explained that in 2011, while working out with her personal trainer, she began to feel symptoms.

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"When I started my workout, I had to force myself through the first few exercises," she said. "Then my trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn’t."

Upon a visit to the hospital, she was diagnosed with a subarachnoid haemorrhage — a stroke that one-third of patients die from.

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"I’d never experienced fear like that — a sense of doom closing in," she said.

Emilia was then rushed into surgery.

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"For the next three hours, surgeons went about repairing my brain. This would not be my last surgery, and it would not be the worst. I was twenty-four years old," she wrote.

Emilia's first surgery was "minimally invasive," but it would still require weeks of recovery without complications to overcome.

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But after a couple of weeks, she couldn't remember her own name.

"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," she said.

After another long stretch of recovery, Emilia was released from the hospital and went back to work — filming season two of "Game Of Thrones".


She admitted, however, that she was struggling.

"Season 2 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," she said.

One year later, after filming season three, Emilia was due for a brain scan.

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"The growth on the other side of my brain had doubled in size, and the doctor said we should “take care of it.” I was promised a relatively simple operation, easier than last time," she revealed.

But her second surgery was anything but simpler than the last one.

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"When they woke me, I was screaming in pain. The procedure had failed. I had a massive bleed and the doctors made it plain that my chances of surviving were precarious if they didn’t operate again. This time they needed to access my brain in the old-fashioned way—through my skull. And the operation had to happen immediately," she explained.

"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 wrote.

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"I felt like a shell of myself," she went on.

In a recent interview with CBS, Emilia revealed that during her recovery, she couldn't stand to look at herself in the mirror — explaining she felt "deeply unattractive."

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"After my operations I didn't want to look at my own face," she said.

"I was so full of drugs from being in the hospital that I had a lot of water retention, and one half of my face was quite swollen. I felt so deeply unattractive," she went on.

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She went on to say that she could see her distress when she looked at her reflection.

"My emotions were so heightened. When I looked in the mirror, I just saw pain in my eyes. And no amount of anything can cover that," she said.


She hated looking at herself in the mirror to the point where she even stopped using one to apply makeup.

"I found it very, very difficult. I used to put on makeup without looking in the mirror, which probably made me look a lot worse," she said.


It has been six years since her last surgery, and Emilia is in a much better place.

She revealed that she has made peace with the situation and now focuses on self-love.

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"When you can look at yourself in the eyes and feel OK with what’s looking back at you, then what more do you need?," she explained.

Thankfully, Emilia has fully recovered and is now even able to crack jokes about it.

She playfully poked that although the surgery could have taken away her of the ability to concentrate, see, or remember things — instead, it robbed her of having "good taste in men".