Now, less than a week away from the series' final season, Emilia opened up to CBS This Morning with new details on her brain injury, as well as never-before-seen photos from after her brain surgeries.
In the CBS interview, Emilia recalled the day in February 2011 when her first aneurysm ruptured: "Basically I was in the gym, the most excruciating pain, like an elastic band just went, like, snap in my head," she said. "An enormous amount of pressure suddenly, and then very very very quickly, I realized I couldn't stand and I couldn't walk, and in that moment I knew I was being brain damaged."
Emilia suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding in the space that surrounds the brain. But miraculously, Emilia was back to work on season two of Game of Thrones just six weeks later.
Two years after that, Emilia was back in the hospital with another aneurysm—and this time, it almost killed her, she said. "With the second one, there was a bit of my brain that actually died," she said, explaining that "if part of your brain doesn't get blood to it for a minute, it will just no longer work. It's like you short circuit. So I had that."
Emilia said that her greatest fear after her second stroke was that she had lost the ability to act. "That was a deep paranoia, from the first one as well. I was like, 'What if something has short-circuited in my brain and I can't act anymore?' I mean, literally it's been my reason for living for a very long time!"
Her recovery period from her second brain surgery was also more difficult than her first—both mentally and physically. "With the second one, I found it much harder to stay optimistic," she said. "I definitely went through a period of being down, to put it mildly."
As of now, Emilia is "completely in the clear," and she's putting all of her energy into getting her new charity, SameYou, a charity that focuses on neurorehabilitation, off the ground. "I really, really am going to put my heart soul an back into transforming aftercare for brain injury recovery.
Honestly, all of this makes Emilia (and Dany) seem even more badass now, right?
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US