Ellie Goulding has said nature “saved me” as she struggled with postnatal depression following the birth of her son in 2021.
He said he would “start to feel life coming back to me” after walking in the countryside.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, which he guest edited, he added that it helped to “take the numbness away”.
Goulding said the only other thing that helped was a big hug with her son.
The singer said she was “desperately researching” postnatal depression because “I feel like I’m losing my mind”.
He said he would put on his big coat and boots, “even if it was just over my pyjamas, I’d just put one foot in front of the other and walk out into the field”.
What is postpartum depression?
According to the NHS, it’s a type of depression that affects one in 10 women within a year of giving birth.
Many women experience the ‘baby blues’ after giving birth – feeling depressed, tearful or anxious – but this shouldn’t last more than two weeks.
Symptoms include a constant feeling of sadness or bad mood, difficulty sleeping at night, a difficult bond with the baby and withdrawal from other people.
Midwives and GPs can help people who may be suffering from the condition. Treatment includes antidepressants, psychological therapy and self-care advice.
You can get more information about postpartum depression at On the NHS website.
The star said she suffered from anxiety since she was a child and “nature was one of the things that saved me from it… my upbringing was quite chaotic and dysfunctional, so my way of escaping… was going for a walk”.
He said some of his childhood angst may have stemmed from his parents splitting up when he was five and overhearing them discussing money problems.
“The discussions were often about money, if we could afford something…could be related to school or just food.”
She added: “I’ve always been an anxious person. When I walk into a room of people, I start to panic like someone is going to kill me, which of course isn’t happening! But my body tells me I’m in danger.”
The MeToo movement
Goulding also discussed her experiences in the music industry, saying that there are better protections for young singers now than when she started her career in 2010.
She said she felt “uncomfortable” working in studios with male producers.
“I definitely think the landscape has changed a little bit, especially since the MeToo movement.”
The singer added that his own record company now has escorts for young artists.
The MeToo movement gained momentum in 2017 when allegations of sexual harassment were made against film producer Harvey Weinstein. who was later convicted and imprisoned.
It led to an account of the entertainment industry, with several women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment or assault by high-profile male figures.
Goulding said of MeToo: “I think it was really, really important that people continued to talk about their own story because I know a lot happened and it just wasn’t talked about.
“I don’t think many people felt comfortable talking about their personal studio experiences.”
Asked if she had felt vulnerable while working in the recording studios, Goulding said: “I had experiences that in my own head kind of normalized and I thought, ‘Maybe this is just a thing.’
“You know when you go into the studio and afterwards the producer asks if you want to go for a drink. And I’m a pretty polite person, I don’t like letting people down. I don’t like letting people down.
“So I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, go have a drink’. And then it kind of becomes a romantic thing, even though it’s not supposed to be.”
“A Kind of Currency”
The singer continued: “You don’t want it to be a romantic thing, but it feels like there’s always been a slight sense of discomfort when you’d walk into a studio and only one or two men were writing or producing.
“And I had to try to figure out if it was just me, something that was going on in my own head. But then hearing so many other stories, similar stories from other female musicians and singers, I realized that I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t just me , because I was particularly kind.”
Goulding described such advances as “a kind of currency” in the music industry.
“It was kind of an unspoken thing, where working with male producers was almost like an expectation that sounds crazy to say out loud, and it really wouldn’t happen now. I mean, very rarely, because things have just changed.
“For example, younger artists at my label Polydor now have chaperones when they go into the studio. They also have the opportunity to talk to a counselor or someone about their experience as a future musician.”
He added: “It’s a vulnerable place when you’re in the studio writing music.”
Ellie Goulding, who grew up in Herefordshire, topped the BBC Sound of 2010 poll and had success with her debut single Starry Eyed and her album Lights.
He has since gone on to hit the top five with songs including How Long Will I Love You, Burn, Love Me Like You Do, Goodness Gracious and the Calvin Harris collaboration I Need Your Love.
If you are affected by any of the issues in this article, you can find information about organizations that can help BBC policy.
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