Oscar winning musician Billie Eilish opened up about her struggle with people's reactions to her Tourette's Syndrome. She revealed to host Dave Letterman the ableism of people thinking her disability is funny.
But to her and others with Tourette's, their lives are not a joke.
On his Netflix special, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Letterman interviewed the Grammy winner and her brother Phineas about how they created the album Happier Than Ever.
During the interview below she explained her condition.
Eilishwas diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome when she was 11 years old.
Although its effect on her have lessened with age, she still suffers from some of the usual tics that cause her to twitch and move her body uncontrollably. Some common Tourette's tics include blinking hard, aggressively shrugging and blurting out vulgar or offensive words or comments.
She said to Letterman:
“If you film me for long enough, you’re gonna see lots of tics."
She continued explaining the public's reaction and how much it hurts her.
“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.”
The pop star shared since her rise to fame she has met a number of musicians and artists who suffer from Tourette's Syndrome, and so she decided it was time to come clean about her personal journey as an artist with Tourette's.
One person empathized, tweeting:
"Having Tourettes myself, I can understand why Billie Eilish is upset when people make fun of her."
"I guess you could say we are both 'Tic'ed off.'"
Others related too.
Another person wrote:
"I hope people rethink how they respond to people's mannerisms after hearing about Billie Eilish and her battle with [T]ourettes."
"I don't have [T]ourrettes, but I do have a lazy eye + speak fast at times and it's so incredibly disheartening when people make jokes/laugh at you for it."
Someone else posted:
"Actually feels liberating having a high profile person talk openly about Tourette’s."
"@billieeilish about her experience… 'these (tics) are things you'd never notice if you're just having a conversation with me, but for me, they're very exhausting.'"
Others expressed a shared frustration with the public's reaction to her tics.
One person tweeted the story and wrote:
"Billie Eilish on having Tourette’s."
"An Awesome human being! Her story shows there are such shallow, SHALLOW people in the world! I wish they’d go crawl back under their rock OR learn to be better people!"
Someone else responded:
"[Billie Eilish] hey girl, don’t know if you’ll see this tweet, but I too have been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at 3 and lived with extreme tics through childhood-adulthood and lemme tell ya, it ain’t easy being the 'butt' of the joke."
Someone else shared:
"i have a stutter and i get the exact same reactions with people laughing at me because they think i'm making some sort of joke and its very hurtful and tiring."
Eilish said, luckily, she doesn't usually experience the tics while performing.
Although she is still confused by her condition, she has become more comfortable discussing it with the public.
Hopefully her openness will educate others about Tourette’s.