Elon Musk admits he has ‘demons of the mind,’ contemplated suicide at age 12

Elon Musk revealed in a new interview he had an “existential crisis” at age 12, in which he thought about ending his life.

The tech mogul, now 52, told the New York Times’ Aaron Ross Sorkin Wednesday at the DealBook Summit 2023 that he once contemplated as a pre-teen, “‘It is all pointless? Why not just commit suicide? Why exist?’”

Musk said, at the time, he would read religious texts and, in particular, German philosophy books that made him “quite depressed,” so he advised against teens reading them.

However, when he picked up Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” he realized that finding the meaning of life does not whittle down to a simple answer but rather which questions we should be asking.

“My motivation then was, well, my life is really finite … but if we can expand the scope and scale of consciousness then we are better able to figure out what questions to ask about the answer that is the universe and maybe we can find out what is the meaning of life,” the Tesla founder said.

Musk also told Sorkin, 46, that his mind “often feels like a very wild storm” because he has a “fountain of ideas” running through it at all times.

Elon Musk revealed he has had “demons” in his mind since childhood and once contemplated suicide. Getty Images for The New York Times
Musk told the New York Times’ Aaron Ross Sorkin that he suffered an “existential crisis” at age 12. Getty Images for The New York Times

When asked whether it was a “happy storm,” the owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, paused for a moment and replied, “No.”

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“I think to some degree I was born this way, but it was amplified by a difficult childhood, frankly,” he added.

Musk said his “difficult childhood” also affected his mental health. Courtesy RR Auction/Mega

Musk’s mother, Maye Musk, spoke to Page Six exclusively in January 2020 about how her ex-husband, Errol Musk, was allegedly abusive to her when her billionaire son was just a child.

“I got married to a person who was aggressive, and then he said he would change when we got married, and he got worse,” she told us, while promoting her book, “A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success.”

“When my husband was actually going to beat me up at a social event, my friends took me to my mom’s home, and she didn’t know that I was getting beaten up.”

Musk said his mind “often feels like a very wild storm.” Courtesy RR Auction/Mega

A 2022 New York Times profile also revealed that Elon was “bullied heavily” in high school in South Africa.

Elon reflected in his discussion with Sorkin Wednesday that even in a “happy moment” when he was a kid, he felt “a rage of forces in [his] mind constantly.”

“These demons of the mind are, for the most part, harnessed to productive ends,” he said, noting all of the business accolades he’s accomplished over the years.

Per a New York Times profile, Musk was “bullied heavily” growing up. Courtesy RR Auction/Mega

However, he then recognized, “Once in a while, they, you know, go wrong.”

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Writer Ben Mezrich recently exposed a moment in which Elon, who has said he has the developmental disorder Asperger’s syndrome, allegedly suffered a mental breakdown in 2022.

Musk said his inner turmoil can often lead to “productive ends.” Getty Images

“He got to a point where he locked himself in his office, was so upset that the Twitter employees were considering calling in a wellness check by the San Francisco police because they thought he was going to self-harm,” the “Breaking Twitter” author alleged to CNBC earlier this month.

Mezrich, 54, claimed the SpaceX CEO had crumbled after getting booed at Dave Chapelle’s show and having his son attacked by a “crazy stalker” in the same month.

The “Antisocial Network” author also claimed of Elon, “I think he truly cares about his reputation.”

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