Billie Eilish has discussed her battle with depression in a frank new interview, opening up about the “freeing feeling” of “coming out of that shell” as she comes to terms with fame.
The 17-year-old invited TV host Gayle King into her family’s home for CBS’ Sunday Morning, where she still lives with her parents and created music with her brother and collaborator Finneas O’Connell.
Eilish has been very open about her mental struggles in the wake of the phenomenal success of her debut album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ Now, she and her family have said that through therapy and the support of those close to her, she’s now firmly on the road to recovery.
“I remember at the beginning, there were all these labels and radio people that wouldn’t play me because I was too sad and no one was going to relate to it,” Eilish told King. “Everybody has felt sad in their lives and of course it’s really important to promote happiness and loving yourself – but a lot of people don’t love themselves.”
Asked if she thought of herself as a “dark person”, Eilish replied: “No, not at all. No one who knows me thinks that I’m a dark person. My God! I’m always laughing at everything.”
She continued: “I was so unhappy last year, and even at the beginning of this year. I was so unhappy and joyless.”
As for the route of her depression, Eilish said: “I don’t know. There were so many reasons. It was all because I was clinically depressed, but on top of it was this thing that I didn’t want at the time. There was this inability to go out. It was so torturous because all I wanted was to go and hang out with my friends.”
“I’ve been kind of coming out of for the last six months, actually. It’s the most freeing feeling to be able to come out of that shell.”
Eilish’s mother Maggie Baird then explained how it was her love of music and dedication to her career that also helped her through.
“The depression was the hardest part of all this,” she said. “We checked in with her all the time and asked, ‘Do you still want to do this?’ She loved doing the shows, that’s what kept her going.”
Giving a tour of their home, the family showed how the parents sleep in the living room, Billie can use Finneas old bedroom and recording studio upstairs to work on music.
“She was always better than me, and that was very frustrating,” said Finneas of their childhood, before Eilish added: “Growing up I thought I was a terrible songwriter, just because he was so good. I was like, ‘Oh, I must be terrible – if he’s that good’. He would literally tell me, that he thought that I was so good at singing that he thought that he was bad at singing. We both had these opposite strengths.”
Eilish has often used her platform to open about her history with mental health issues and Tourette syndrome, having revealed that she battled self-harm and depression in her early to mid-teens after suffering a dance injury.
When it was put to her that some may accuse her of “faking” her depression for her image, Eilish recently said: “It hurt me to see that. I was a 16-year-old girl who was really unstable. I’m in the happiest place of my life, and I didn’t think that I would even make it to this age.”
Next year will also see her return to the UK for large scale arena tour.
For help and advice on mental health:
- ‘Am I depressed?‘ – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
- Help Musicians UK – Around the clock mental health support and advice for musicians
- Music Support Org – Help and support for musicians struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or mental health issues
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably for young men
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day