Just days after making history as the youngest person ever to win Song Of The Year at the Grammys, Billie Eilish is making her Vogue cover debut. In the accompanying interview, the 18-year-old singer opens up about her experiences with depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.
In the profile, Eilish explained that she’s always been fascinated by dark subjects. At age 11, for instance, she wrote a song about suicidal thoughts — even though, according to the performer, the song didn’t reflect her own experiences. “That was the song, at 11,” she said. “And I was totally happy. I had never felt suicidal, and I didn’t want to feel that way, but I liked the idea of writing a song about something I didn’t know about.”
When she was in her early teens, however, that changed. The singer was diagnosed depression, and she self-harmed and experienced suicidal thoughts. She said there were a number of contributing factors, including a romantic partner who treated her badly, a toxic friend group, and a dance injury. But the primary one, she said, was her body image.
“I just hated my body. I would have done anything to be in a different one,” she said. “I really wanted to be a model, really bad, and I was chubby and short. I developed really early. I had boobs at nine. I got my period at 11. So my body was going faster than my brain. It’s funny, because when you’re a little kid, you don’t think of your body at all. And all of a sudden, you look down and you’re, like, whoa. What can I do to make this go away?”
After a while, Eilish began to make changes in her life to improve her mental health — changes “that she prefers to keep private,” Vogue writer Rob Haskell explains. (Eilish has previously spoken about benefiting from therapy.) By June 2019, “the fog began to lift,” Haskell writes about the singer.
Eilish also shared an important piece of advice for people in similar situations. “When people ask me what I’d say to somebody looking for advice on mental health, the only thing I can say is patience,” she said. “I had patience with myself. I didn’t take that last step. I waited. Things fade.”
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or considering self-harm, please get help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.