Former One Direction singer Zayn Malik, who has spoken out about the anxiety that has occasionally forced him to cancel concert appearances, now reveals he has suffered from an eating disorder as well.
In British press excerpts from his new book, “Zayn,” which publisher Delacorte Press calls a “collection of thoughts [and] inspiration,” the 23-year-old Brit reveals, “Something I’ve never talked about in public before, but which I have come to terms with since leaving the band, is that I was suffering from an eating disorder.” That came about, he explains later, because, “The workload and the pace of life on the road put together with the pressures and strains of everything going on within the band had badly affected my eating habits.
“It wasn’t as though I had any concerns about my weight or anything like that,” adds the “Pillowtalk” singer, who now goes simply by the mononym Zayn. “I’d just go for days — sometimes two or three days straight — without eating anything at all. It got quite serious, although at the time I didn’t recognise it for what it was.” He muses now, “I think it was about control. I didn’t feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did. I had lost so much weight I had become ill.”
Zayn also touched on the anxiety disorder that forced him to cancel his performance at London’s Summertime Ball on June 11 and a solo concert that had been scheduled to take place Oct. 7 at the Autism Rocks Arena in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“On the morning of the 2016 Capital Radio Summertime Ball, an anxiety attack hit me like a [expletive] freight train. I felt sick. I couldn’t breathe,” he writes. “The idea of it totally freaked me out and I was paralysed with anxiety. This overwhelming fear just kicked in out of nowhere, bringing with it a [expletive] storm of self-doubt.”
He goes on to describe his management team finding him “on total psychological lockdown. I would make a move to walk out of the house, to get into a car that would then drive me to Wembley [Stadium], but I could only manage a few paces before I hit an imaginary wall. It stopped me in my tracks, and I would have to sit down again.”
In an Instagram post Monday, Zayn wrote, “I hope there are things in the book that contextualize some of the moments and memories we all shared together. There are things I address in the book that are very personal to me, things that I have never told anyone, things I still find hard to talk about. … The good news is today, I am inspired, I am healthy and I am grateful.”
He is working, he says in the tome, on overcoming his anxiety. “The plan is to start performing smaller venues and work my way up from there. This anxiety isn’t going to get the better of me.”