American singer, Billie Eilish, was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome when she was 11 years old. The Grammy Award-winner admitted to having a neurological illness while appearing on American television host David Letterman's Netflix chat show, 'My Next Guest Needs No Introduction’.
While speaking with Letterman, Eilish began to move her head, which she claimed is one of the Tourette's tics, according to a report by the Times of India.
Tourette Syndrome is a nervous system disorder characterised by recurring involuntary tics, which are repetitive, involuntary bodily motions such as twitches and verbal outbursts. Tics include blinking, sniffing, groaning, throat clearing, grimacing, shoulder motions, and head movements.
"I don't tic at all, because the main tics that I do constantly, all day long, are like, I wiggle my ear back and forth and raise my eyebrow and click my jaw ... and flex my arm here and flex this arm, flex these muscles. These are things you would never notice if you're just having a conversation with me, but for me, they're very exhausting," Eilish spoke up.
Tourette syndrome symptoms, such as uncontrolled tics and spontaneous verbal outbursts, intensify at times of excitement, stress, or worry. The 'Happier Than Ever' singer revealed that when she's "focused" on duties like singing or horseback riding, the tics don't bother her as much.
People don't always react appropriately when Eilish has a tic, Eilish explained. "The most common way that people react is they laugh because they think I'm trying to be funny. They think I'm ticcing as a funny movie. And so they go, 'Ha.' And I'm always left incredibly offended by that. Or they go 'What? And then I go, I have Tourette’s” Eilish added.
According to the American Brain Foundation, around 200,000 persons in the United States have severe Tourette syndrome symptoms. Milder symptoms affect up to one in every 100 persons in the United States.
Eilish underlined throughout the chat show that she is not alone in having Tourette syndrome.
"So many people have it that you would never know. A couple of artists came forward and said, 'I've actually always had Tourette's.' And I'm not going to out them because they don't want to talk about it. But that was actually really interesting to me because I was like, You do? What?” Eilish said.
While Eilish admits that she used to "curse" her symptoms, she now considers them to be "part" of her as she said, "I have made friends with it, so now I’m pretty confident in it"