Emilia Clarke Feared for Her Life While Filming 'Game of Thrones

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The 37-year-old actress said that after a person survives such a trauma their workplace insecurities “quadruple overnight”. She said she thought she was going to be sacked from her starring role in the hit fantasy series because she was scared that show bosses would think she was not capable of doing her job.

Emilia Clarke has described how she thought she might die while filming Game of Thrones after sustaining a brain injury.

The 37-year-old actress said that after a person survives such a trauma their workplace insecurities “quadruple overnight”. She said she thought she was going to be sacked from her starring role in the hit fantasy series because she was scared that show bosses would think she was not capable of doing her job.

Emilia has previously spoken out about how she thought was going to die when she had a brain bleed while working out in a north London gym in 2011. She has said she did not want to go public about her brain injury, and largely kept it a secret from her Game Of Thrones colleagues.

Medics discovered a second brain haemorrhage in 2013 – while she was still acting as Daenerys Targaryen on the hit series. In a new interview with the Big Issue, she has discussed the difficulties in returning to work after a brain injury. "When you have a brain injury, because it alters your sense of self on such a dramatic level, all of the insecurities you have going into the workplace quadruple overnight,” she said.

"The first fear we all had was: ‘Oh my God, am I going to get fired? Am I going to get fired because they think I’m not capable of completing the job?’” She was back at work within weeks of her first brain bleed and recalls fearing that she was dying of another brain haemorrhage because of the stress and pressure of finding herself in front of thousands of people and cameras. She remembers thinking: “Well, if I’m going to die, I better die on live TV.”

After recovering from her injuries, the star and her mother Jenny set up a charity to help people with brain injuries. The mother and daughter duo were made MBEs earlier this year for their work setting up the charity SameYou. Asked about how she felt “fragile, sensitive and scared” after her brain injury and was shocked to find out how understaffed rehabilitation services are – with rehab becoming a key focus for the charity.

SameYou has now partnered with the Big Issue to help brain injury survivors return to work with the support of Big Issue Recruit Job Coaches. A new survey of 327 brain injury survivors found that of 189 survivors who have returned to work post injury, 37% said they did not feel ready to return to their jobs.

Half (53%) of those who returned to work had to do so because of financial reasons and around a quarter (27%) said they felt pressure from their employer to return to work. Of those who returned to work, almost one in five (19%) rated the support they received from their employer as “poor”.

Half (50%) of those who returned to work had to make adjustments because of their brain injury including changes to their hours, their role or even their employer and 61% said they would have benefitted from a job coach to ease their return to work.

Big Issue Recruit supports people who face barriers to work with finding sustainable employment and it is hoped that the new partnership will expand this support to brain injury survivors and their carers. Clarke’s mother, Jenny Clarke, chief executive and co-founder of SameYou, said: “This research clearly highlights the many complex challenges that people who have experienced a brain injury face when going back to work.

“Survivors have reported pressures to return before they are ready, as well as problems with financial difficulties, benefits and even an increased risk of homelessness. We’re proud to be partnering with Big Issue Recruit, supporting brain injury survivors and their carers, with their return to work by building their confidence and finding the right employment pathways for them.”