"I remember crying because I was thinking about how the way that I was gonna die was [that] I was gonna do it."
Billie Eilish is grateful to be 18.
The singer-songwriter, who became an overnight sensation last year, spoke candidly to Gayle King about how instant fame led to depression, which led to self-harm and almost cost her her life.
"I was so unhappy last year. I was so unhappy. And I was so, like, joyless," Eilish said on "The Gayle King Grammy Special." "I don't wanna be too dark, but I genuinely didn't think I would make it to 17."
When asked if she feared she would "do something to yourself," Eilish said yes, then revealed she once came dangerously close.
"I think about this one time I was in Berlin, and I was alone in my hotel. And I remember there was like a window right there," she explained. "And I like, God, I remember crying because I was thinking about how the way that I was gonna die was [that] I was gonna do it."
King asked Eilish about the lyric in song "Bury a Friend" that says, "I wanna end me." She said she was indeed talking about herself, but playfully admitted "it also rhymed."
So what kept the then-16-year-old rising star from taking her own life? "My mom."
Maggie Baird, who tours with Billie, told Gayle she scaled back on her daughter's grueling tour schedule and learned how to say no.
"We checked in with her all the time about 'Do you still wanna do this? Do you wanna do this?'" Baird recalled. "She loved doing the shows -- the fans and the shows. That's what kept her going."
With therapy and the support of her family, Billie was able to find a more positive outlook.
As someone who used to hide self-inflicted cuts on her arms, the musician says she now reaches out to fans with cuts on theirs.
"I just grab them by the shoulders and I'm like, 'Please take care of yourself and be good to yourself and be nice to yourself. Don't take that extra step and hurt yourself further. You can't take it back.'"
If you or someone you know is harming themselves or contemplating suicide, please seek help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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