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Meghan Trainor is opening up about her experience with panic disorder, sharing that she had her first panic attack on live television.
"I was announcing the [Grammy] nominees, and I was vibrating. I felt like I was going to pass out on live television. I was like, 'What's happening? I must be dying,'" the singer told People about her appearance on CBS This Morning in Dec. 2016. "As soon as they said 'Cut,' I went offstage and was [gasping for air] in front of everyone."
Trainor, 27, recalled that she had been going over her schedule with her team earlier that morning, which triggered the anxious response. Luckily, she shared that Gayle King was helpful in calming her down. "I was so embarrassed and apologized, but she made everything so much better for me," Trainor said. "She's an angel on this earth."
Still, Trainor hadn't experienced the worst of it until she suffered from a vocal cord injury that led her to get surgery. At the time, she feared that she would never be able to sing again.
"I was in a dark place," she said. "I had everything I wanted — I had the love of my life — but mentally and physically I felt ill."
The symptoms that she was experiencing placed her in the hospital on multiple occasions. Finally, one of those trips brought her to a doctor who was able to provide a diagnosis.
"Some nights I remember I ate a bunch of food, then I got scared, and I was like, 'I need to go to the emergency room because I'm allergic to what I just ate.' The doctor came in, looked really sad, and was like, 'Have you ever heard of a panic attack?' I was like, 'No, no, no, I'm having an allergic reaction. If you just look in the back of my throat, it's closing,'" she explained. "That was my first lesson on what a panic attack can do to you."
Panic disorder is defined as "an anxiety disorder characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear," according to the National Institute of Mental Health. "Physical symptoms may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominal distress. These episodes occur 'out of the blue,' not in conjunction with a known fear or stressor."
Trainor was candid about seeking help from a psychiatrist through therapy and medication.
"With the panic [attacks], you literally feel like you're vibrating nonstop. But everything just got quiet, and I was back to my normal self," she said of her treatment. "I'm not ashamed to say I'm on antidepressants. That medicine saved me, saved my life, saved my career. I'm back better than ever."
Now, with new projects on the horizon and life with her husband Daryl Sabara and their 7-month-old son Riley, Trainor said that "I'm in the best place of my life."