Welch addressed the condition on the record’s second single ‘Hunger’, where she sings: “At 17, I started to starve myself / I thought that love was a kind of emptiness / And at least I understood then the hunger I felt.”
The artist spoke about the process of writing the track in a new interview with Rolling Stone, where she recalled her family’s initial reaction to hearing the lyrics.
“My sister was like, ‘What are you doing? Are you OK? You haven’t spoken about this even with mum, and you’ve put it in a pop song? What’s wrong with you?'” Welch remembered. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know what I’m doing.’ But it opened up a lot of stuff in my family that was good in the end.
“I did sit down and talk it through with my mum,” she continued. “But it’s funny: With English people, you have the talk and then everyone just carries on, just like, ‘OK, that’s dealt with. We put that in the drawer and we go on.'”
Asked about what age she felt like she was “done” with her eating disorder, Welch said that “it’s not an overnight thing.”
“It’s funny ’cause it’s one of the most insidious things you can have. I have a healthy relationship with my body now more than I ever did before, but it took me a long time. And it stays with you in really weird ways.
“So it’s hard to say, ‘When did you overcome it?’ Because you would have overcome some of the behaviour a long time ago but the head stuff, it takes a while. It comes back in really strange ways, which I was looking at in this record.
“It’s very hard to accept love. If you’ve been denying yourself nourishment in some way, you also have a tendency to deny yourself emotional nourishment.”
Back in September, Welch explained more about the “trance state” she enters into in order to be able to perform live with her band.
FOR HELP AND ADVICE ON MENTAL HEALTH:
- ‘Am I depressed?’ – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
- 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