In a new interview with People, singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor revealed her panic disorder diagnosis for the first time.
The “All About That Bass” singer told People she was diagnosed with the anxiety condition in 2017 following two surgeries to repair hemorrhages on her vocal cords. Trainor attributed the fear of losing her music career as the trigger for panic disorder, which she didn’t initially recognize as panic.
“I was working really hard, and I kept having to cancel tours. I was like, ‘This is all I have, this is my life — if I can’t sing, I can’t work,’” Trainor told People, adding:
It turned into a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of scary panic. I went to the emergency room a couple of times because I thought my throat was closing from an allergic reaction, and the doctor was like, ‘This is a panic attack.’ … My doctors diagnosed me with panic disorder.
Panic disorder is an anxiety condition that causes frequent panic attacks without an obvious cause and leads to a debilitating fear of having subsequent panic attacks. Panic disorder is often confused with having panic attacks or generalized anxiety disorder. However, to be diagnosed with panic disorder, panic attacks occur unexpectedly and the anxiety of having another can lead to significant changes in your daily routine to avoid them.
Mighty contributor Natalie Rodriguez explained what it can be like living with panic disorder and the hallmark fear of experiencing panic attacks:
When my own panic attacks hit their highest peak, they nearly consumed me as a human being. I used to call in ‘sick,’ simply walk out of college classes and turn around to go straight home. Home was the only place where I felt, well, not judged and most importantly not making a fool out of myself for having an attack in public.
Panic disorder affects approximately 2-3% of the U.S. population, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and most often starts in adulthood. It’s also a mental health condition that’s highly responsive to treatment with the help of therapy, coping skills and medication, or a combination of all three. Trainor explained that after being diagnosed with panic disorder, she worked with a team to manage her anxiety. Part of that journey included getting around the misconceptions of taking medication for mental illness.
“I met a psychologist who gave me medicine; I had therapists; I worked out; I got acupuncture,” Trainor said. “The best thing my doctor ever told me was, ‘You use an inhaler for your lungs, right? Why can’t you use medicine to fix your brain?’ That’s what got my parents to understand what was happening with me.”
Trainor also said her panic disorder journey inspired the title track of her third studio album, “Treat Myself,” which was released on Jan. 31. While working in therapy to manage her anxiety, Trainor said her therapist told her to practice self-care every time she faced her panic, hence, “Treat Myself.”
“My therapist blew my mind with this: If you go through a really hard patch of anxiety, and you get out of it, you should reward yourself,” Trainor explained. “So my big thing that I’m working on in life right now is treating myself and being good to myself because it’s a very hard thing to do — including taking care of my health and even how I talk about myself.”