“Whew. It was rough,” Smith told Baldwin during their one-on-one at the beginning of the Facebook Watch show. “I feel like when I was growing up, she didn’t understand my anxiety. Cause she ― growing up ― had seen her friends die.”
“She had been through so much stuff that my issues to her kind of felt, like—”
“Smaller,” Baldwin interjected.
“And that was very frustrating for me as a child,” Smith continued. “Because I was like, ‘How can you not see my internal and emotional struggle?’”
“But really recently, we had a talk, and she was like, ‘I never knew that I actually experience anxiety,’” Smith said of her mom. “And she was pushing it down and pushing it down for so many years, like she had no idea. So, I kind of had to forgive her a little bit for being like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah ― I get it, but it’s really not that bad.’”
Willow has opened up about her “extreme anxiety” before, which she says led to full-blown attacks as she reached an intense level of stardom when she was just a child. The singer released her first single, “Whip My Hair” at only 9 years old, and then started opening for Justin Bieber.
“That was crazy,” Smith told The Independent last year in regard to dealing with anxiety attacks at such a young age.
“I was brainwashed into thinking, ‘No, you’re being a brat, suck it up,’” she said. “Then I grew up, and I realized it was something that needed to be dealt with.”
In 2018, the singer even said that she turned to self-harm as a preteen in an attempt to cope.
“I feel like I lost my sanity at one point,” Smith said at the time. “It was after that whole ‘Whip My Hair’ thing and I had just stopped doing singing lessons and I kind of was in this gray area of: ‘Who am I? Do I have a purpose? Is there anything I can do besides this?’”
“I never talk about it because it was such a short, weird point in my life,” Smith continued. “But you have to pull yourself out of it.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.