A pop singer dubbed the ‘German Billie Eilish’ has opened up about feeling powerless from panic attacks and epileptic seizures.
Zoe Wees from the city of Hamburg, Germany, made headlines when she appeared at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, and on Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ in New York in 2021.
But, the 21-year-old musician who has been struggling with benign rolandic epilepsy since her childhood, shared how coping with the syndrome has not been easy.
In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Zoe who rose to fame in the fifth season of the music talent show ‘The Voice Kids’ in Germany, said music helped her battle the symptoms.
Raised by her mum, and only having met her dad when she was 16, Zoe said: “Expressing my fears, worries, and thoughts in song lyrics has helped me take the next step.”
The illness, according to the singer, caused her to have feelings of exclusion from others, helplessness, and loss of control.
She said: “The sickness was stronger than me, and left scars that have become part of my life. Accepting them has taken so much time, but they make me what I am today: a fighter.”
It then turned worse for the young hope when she began having panic attacks.
Zoe, who boasts more than 380,000 followers on Instagram, said chest pain, shortness of breath, and a racing heart rate are just some of the symptoms she experiences during a panic attack.
Explaining that at one point they were so bad, she had to be hospitalised, Zoe added: “These attacks cannot be entered into the calendar like appointments.
“Over time I have learned to deal with my fears. Know some signs from my body just before it starts.”
However, taking an ice cube and letting it melt between her fingers is a hack she found useful to calm herself down.
Zoe said: “It calms me down, lets me feel my pulse, and, above all, its cooling effect distracts me from my actual thoughts – panic.
“Nevertheless, there are still times when I feel downright powerless.”
When performing, the singer revealed she always wears an amulet given to her by her late great-grandmother and added: “That gives me strength and support in moments of excitement.”
When asked about what part of the day she gets most creative, Zoe said: “Definitely not early in the morning.
“Most of the time my songwriting sessions start around midday and last until late at night.”
And answering what she bought from her first earnings, she added: “I gave my granddad a car. He really had tears of joy. That was very special.”
The benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE) syndrome also known as self-limited epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes, is the most common epilepsy syndrome in childhood.
It is characterised by twitching, numbness, or tingling of the child’s face or tongue and may interfere with speech.
It also causes seizures that spread from one area of the brain before they become more generalised.