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Olivia Cooke had a “full mental breakdown” when she was 22.

The ‘House of the Dragon’ actress went through an “awful” period in 2016 but refused to take a break and credits filming ‘Ready Player One’ and ‘Thoroughbreds’ while going through her struggles as a welcome distraction.

She recalled: “It was bad, bad. Awful, actually.

“I was working all the way through. I was very good at hiding it. If anything, I was like, let me escape myself.”

From 2013 to 2017, the British star worked in Canada, playing Emma Decody in ‘Bates Motel’, and though she is “so grateful” to have worked on the show, she admitted she felt very isolated and fell into depression.

She explained to Observer magazine: “I’m so grateful for that job, but I had a really tough time on it.

“The way the schedule worked, we all had different storylines, so a lot of my time was spent in this apartment in Vancouver, working once every two weeks…

“It was a big old lovely cocktail: being homesick and not knowing it, having not stopped since I was 18, being on my own for large swathes of time.”

But Olivia, now 28, has never been afraid to advocate for herself on set.

She said: “I’ve always been quite protective of myself and known my limits and known if someone was taking the p***. And no one else is going to say it, usually.

“If it happens more than twice, then I speak up.”

While Olivia’s mental health got better with time, it took until 2019 for her to have consecutive days free from “the incessant, persistent, anxious thoughts” but it took moving back to London from New York in early 2020 for her to truly feel better.

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She said: “What was really healing was moving back to London.”

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Looking ahead to the future, the actress is keen to start a family of her own.

She admitted: “More and more, I think I’ve wanted to have a family.

“But that’s literally just been in the last couple of months… Just seeing how my sister is with her little boy, who is amazing, but also a savage – how she’s grown, and that love that she has.”

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