Billie Eilish opens up about her history with self-harm and depression

2 August 2019, 13:27

By Sam Prance

Billie Eilish also talks in depth about her experiences with body dysmorphia and panic attacks in a new Rolling Stone interview.

Billie Eilish has opened up about how body dysmorphia and depression led her to self-harm when she was younger.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Billie says that she started to feel uncomfortable in her own skin when she was just 12 years old. “That was probably when I was the most insecure. I wasn’t as confident. I couldn’t speak and just be normal. When I think about it or see pictures of me then, I was so not OK with who I was.”

READ MORE: Billie Eilish reveals she doesn't feel safe after being stalked by a "creepy older guy"

Billie also talks about how dancing competitively fostered her insecurities: “At dance, you wear really tiny clothes. And I’ve never felt comfortable in really tiny clothes. I was always worried about my appearance. That was the peak of my body dysmorphia. I couldn’t look in the mirror at all.”

Billie Eilish opens up about self-harm, depression and body dysmoprhia in new Rolling Stone interview
Billie Eilish opens up about self-harm, depression and body dysmoprhia in new Rolling Stone interview. Picture: @billieeilish via Instagram, Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Things got worse, when Billie injured her hip and had to quit dance altogether. “I think that’s when the depression started. It sent me down a hole. I went through a whole self-harming phase — we don’t have to go into it. But the gist of it was, I felt like I deserved to be in pain.”

During that time, Billie's music career took off. However, she says that she was still struggling behind closed doors. "When anyone else thinks about Billie Eilish at 14, they think of all the good things that happened," she said. "But all I can think of is how miserable I was. How completely distraught and confused. Thirteen to 16 was pretty rough.”

Thankfully things seem to be better now. Billie states: “I haven’t been depressed in a minute, which is great. Seventeen has probably been the best year of my life. I’ve liked 17.”

That being said, Billie still has bad days. The week before she started her When We All Fall Asleep Tour in April, Billie says she "cried for two hours" and had "a panic attack every single night". She says: “I just couldn’t take the fact that I had to leave again. It felt like an endless limbo. Like there was no end in sight. I threw up twice, from the anxiety.”

"There was a moment when I was sitting on my bathroom floor — this sounds depressing, because it was — but I was sitting on my bathroom floor, trying to think of something I could look forward to," she continues. "And I could not think of one thing. I thought for a long time, too. I was like, ‘There has to be something.’ But there was nothing.”

Ultimately, Billie thinks this comes down to her fear of being alone. She "loves" being on stage but every tour she has to abandon her friends. In reference to her past self-harm, Billie says: “I don’t trust myself when I’m alone.” To combat this, Billie is now taking an extra "friend bus" on tour so that her friends can join her.

Billie realises that many of her fans suffer with depression and self-harm too: “Sometimes I see girls at my shows with scars on their arms, and it breaks my heart. I don’t have scars anymore because it was so long ago. But I’ve said to a couple of them, ‘Just be nice to yourself.’ Because I know. I was there.”

Billie regularly uses her platform to shine light on mental health issues. She often speaks about the benefits of therapy and, just this May, she took part in a Seize the Awkward PSA to encourage anyone struggling with their mental health to seek help.

You can find out more about Seize The Awkward on their website and social media.