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Billie Eilish Opened Up About Having Tourette Syndrome

Dr Rohit Bhaskar
Dr Rohit Bhaskar
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In a new interview, Billie Eilish opened up about her experience having Tourette syndrome, calling her tics “very exhausting.”

Speaking with David Letterman on his Netflix show, My Guest Needs No Introduction, Billie started talking about having Tourette syndrome after having a tic on camera. “If you film me for long enough, you’re gonna see lots of tics,” she said. 

Billie was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at age 11. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Tourette syndrome is a condition of the nervous system that causes people to experience tics, or “sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly.” Since she was diagnosed, Billie said some of her tics have faded with age, while she experiences others regularly.

While Billie said many of her tics aren’t obvious to people around her, and often don’t appear while she’s onstage or moving around, she said they’re tiring to experience. “These are things you would never notice if you’re just having a conversation with me,” she said, “but for me, they’re very exhausting.”

When people do notice her tics, Billie said they often don’t know how to react.

“The most common way that people react is they laugh because they think I’m trying to be funny…and I’m always left incredibly offended by that,” she said. 

Still, Billie said she’s happy to talk about having Tourette syndrome, which is in line with her openness about her experience with her mental health overall. Billie has spoken in the past about having depression and panic attacks right around the time she started getting famous. 

“It’s funny. When anyone else thinks about Billie Eilish at 14, they think of all the good things that happened,” she told Rolling Stone in 2019. “But all I can think of is how miserable I was. How completely distraught and confused. Thirteen to 16 was pretty rough.”

Talking about having Tourette syndrome, Billie said, has led her to realize that she’s not alone.

“What’s funny is so many people have it that you would never know,” Billie said. “A couple artists came forward and said, ‘I’ve actually always had Tourette’s,’ and I’m not gonna out them because they don’t wanna talk about it, but that was actually really interesting to me.”

This post originally appeared on Teen Vogue.

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