Ed Sheeran Opens Up About Addiction, Panic Attacks and the 'Lowest Point' in His Life
By Paige Gawley
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Universal Pictures International
Ed Sheeran is recalling the lowest point in his life. The 29-year-old singer sat down for a rare interview as part of the Hay House Chasing the Present Summit, and revealed that he's "had bouts of everything" from depression to anxiety, before sharing that the lowest point in his mental health actually came at a high point of his career in 2015.
"It was down to bad diet, drinking and then not seeing sunlight at all... and I wasn't exercising. Exercise, I think, is a really f**king important thing to keep people happy," he said. "I was touring and I would stay up and drink all night and then... the buses would park underneath the arenas and I'd sleep on the bus all day and then wake up and then come out do the show, drink, get back on the bus. I didn’t see sunlight for, like, maybe like four months."
"It’s all fun and games at the start, it's all rock 'n' roll and it's fun, and then it starts getting just sad," Sheeran continued. "So I think that’s probably the lowest that I’ve been and I kind of ballooned in weight and I just wasn't healthy."
It was then that Sheeran found himself asking, "What was the point? Why am I around? What is the point?'"
During that time, he also struggled with panic attacks while in public places including "the tube, planes, supermarkets, anywhere where there's lots of people."
"It's a weird paranoia in me that's assuming that everyone's gonna be horrible, when usually people are nice," he explained.
Sheeran's unhealthy lifestyle was made worse given the fact that he has a "very, very addictive personality," and thus struggles with moderation.
"I’m reading Elton John’s book at the moment and there are so many things that he did that I do. He would be like, 'I would just go on an ice cream binge and eat four f**king desserts until I thew up,' and I was like, 'I’ve done that before.' Or his martini binges, where he sees how many he can drink. And I’m like, 'I’ve done that before too,'" Sheeran said. "He ends up getting really f**king sad and depressed and all of these things can can add to that."
"I think with addiction it's very hard to moderate, but moderation is the key, I think. I think things like sugar, sweet stuff, junk food, cocaine, alcohol, is all things that, it feels good the more you do, but it’s the worst thing for you, I think," he continued. "... I’m covered in tattoos and I kind of don’t do things by halves. So if I’m gonna drink, I kinda see no point in having a glass of wine, I’d rather have two bottles of wine. I think having a glass of wine is having something in moderation and probably isn’t going to affect your day the next day. But two bottles of wine probably might make you quite sad the next."
"I was on my phone probably 19 hours of the day in 2015 and before that. Just constantly flicking, posting, flicking, posting, flicking, posting. And it wasn't till the tour ended in 2015 where I was like, 'I'm going to try to live without my phone for a bit,'" he said. "... It just felt like a massive weight had been lifted... Being off it has been really good."
Sheeran's lifestyle began to change for the better when he rekindled his friendship and romance with his longtime love, Cherry Seaborn.
"She exercises a lot, so I started going on runs with her. She eats quite healthily, so I started eating quite healthily with her. She doesn’t drink that much, so I wasn’t drinking," he said. "That all changed things."
In addition to the health benefits, Sheeran found self-esteem and mental health benefits to exercising regularly.
"There's loads of health benefits anyway, but also just loads of cosmetic benefits, as in you just feel better, but also you start looking better," he said. "When you look better, you're looking in the mirror like, 'Oh, maybe I don't hate myself today.'"