Ed Sheeran has opened up about living with “crippling social anxiety” which means he struggles to meet large groups of people.
In the new interview with The Sun, Sheeran described the issue as “ironic” in light of the fact he plays huge shows on tour but added that in his day-to-day life, the situation makes him feel “claustrophobic” and like a “zoo animal.”
Sheeran said: “I don’t like large groups of people, which is ironic given I play shows to thousands of people.
“I feel claustrophobic and I don’t like being around many people. I have no problem with talking to people. But it’s when people film me and stare at me. It makes me feel weird.” Sheeran added that he suffers with anxiety “every day.”
He continued: “It makes me feel like I’m not human. If you want to come up to me and have a conversation with me. Even if we’ve never met, just come up. But what instantly cuts me off is that you’re having a moment with them which is so genuine and so nice and then at the end they ask for a picture.
Sheeran said the situation has gotten worse since the success of ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Divide’ in 2017. In his latest single with Justin Bieber, ‘I Don’t Care’, Sheeran also sings about the condition with lyrics which include: “With all these people all around, I’m crippled with anxiety, But I’m told it’s where I’m supposed to be.”
Sheeran went on to explain that he now only goes on tour with just four of his closest friends because he struggles with the attention fame brings.
“It creeps up on you,” Sheeran said of the anxiety, adding: “I’ve been working on it for eight years and I closed off from reality. Whether it’s getting rid of your phone or only looking at emails twice a day. Or cutting down my friendship group to the bare minimum just so I can trust everyone. I let people in from a, ‘Let’s hang out place’. There is letting in and then there is letting in.”
Sheeran said the situation led to him moving out of London. “I was getting sucked up into it. I felt myself getting drained. If I lived in central London and hung out with people, I wasn’t sure if they were friends with me because of me, or who I am. That’s why I moved here.”
Yesterday (July 12), Sheeran shared a new video for his collaboration with Travis Scott, ‘Antisocial’. The track appears on Sheeran’s new collaborative album ‘No.6 Collaborations Project’, also released yesterday, and the new clip sees the pair venture into classic film sets from the past.
‘I Don’t Care’, his collaboration with Bieber, has been the Number One single in the UK for eight weeks.
For help and advice on mental health issues, check out the below organisations:
- 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