Billie Eilish Opens Up About Her Struggles With Body Dysmorphia and Mental Health Issues
By Antoinette Bueno
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Billie Eilish is getting candid about dealing with depression and anxiety her entire life.
The 17-year-old singer covers Rolling Stone and discusses her childhood in depth. Eilish was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome as a child, and also had severe separation anxiety growing up. She also describes how her serious involvement in dance for a number of years affected her self-esteem.
"That was probably when I was the most insecure," Eilish says, noting that the dance company she joined had a lot of "really pretty girls." "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."
"At dance, you wear really tiny clothes," she continues. "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."
Later, a debilitating dance injury when she was 13 led to depression.
"It sent me down a hole," she recalls. "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."
"It's funny, when anyone else thinks about Billie Eilish at 14, they think of all the good things that happened," she notes, since her musical career started to take off after she quit dance. "But all I can think of is how miserable I was. How completely distraught and confused. Thirteen to 16 was pretty rough."
Eilish still struggles today, especially when dealing with fame and touring. Eilish's current When We All Fall Asleep tour takes her all around the world and ends in November.
"It's annoying. I have this amazing thing in front of me, and I don't want to hate it," she muses. "And I don't hate it. But I hate certain parts of it. .... I've loved attention my whole life, but I don't think anyone knows what fame actually is. Because if I did want to be famous -- it wasn't this kind."
Later, Eilish talks about having panic attacks before her tour.
"I just couldn't take the fact that I had to leave again," she explains. "It felt like an endless limbo. Like there was no end in sight. And, I mean, it's true: There really is no end in sight with touring. ... Thinking about that literally made me throw up. I'm not a throw-upper, but I threw up twice, from the anxiety."
The singer started seeing a therapist and planned for more off time between shows as well as time with her friends, which helped.
"I have a job that doesn't allow me to break down," she notes. "I can't go cry somewhere, I can't go scream and be mad. I have to work. ... I just was in such a bad place. It was too much on me. I was too much on me. I don't want advice, because I'm not going to take it anyway. I just wanted to be heard."
However, at the end of the day, she knows how fortunate she is to have such incredible success.
"I have an amazing job, dude. I really do," she acknowledges. "The things I get to do in my career have just been unbelievable. Like this sh**, bro? Can you believe this is real? Are you kidding me? Like, that's what I get to do? Come on, bro! So I do love it. And, like, I do like fame. Fame is pretty cool. If I'm putting on my third-person cocky hat, the sh** is f**king amazing. Going anywhere and being looked at because everyone knows who you are? That's crazy! So I really cannot complain. But I do anyway."
"I haven't been depressed in a minute, which is great," she also says at one point. "Seventeen has probably been the best year of my life. I've liked 17."
ET spoke to Eilish in May at the 2019 ASCAP Pop Music Awards, where she talked about taking the music industry by storm.
"I'm, like, through the roof, bro," she said of her success. "I'm just happy about it, you know. I don't know what else I'm supposed to be … I've been having to talk about myself in the third person because I don't know how to be like, 'I just did that, I just did this.'"