Meghan Trainor Opened Up About Her Panic Disorder and Shared Advice for Others

"I went on antidepressants and it saved my life," she said in a recent Apple Fitness+ 'Time to Walk' episode.

Meghan Trainor
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Meghan Trainor is opening up about living with panic disorder. The "Better When I'm Dancing" singer shared some of her experience in a recent Apple Fitness+ Time to Walk episode, as part of the series that features notable people sharing stories as they walk. (Psst: You can access Fitness+ content on the app on an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Apple TV.)

During her episode, the 28-year-old spoke about how her life got "chaotic" after her 2016 Grammy win and how she needed vocal cord surgery in 2017. Soon after her recovery, her assistant started listing out everything she needed to do in a week, and Trainor felt like she couldn't breathe, she recalled. "I thought, 'This was it, I'm going to die like this,' and my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, was with me calming me down," said the singer.

Trainor was anxious as a child, she noted, but this "felt like something was taking over my body," she said in the recent episode. She later learned what she experienced was a panic attack.

"I had migraines, my head was on fire, my back was on fire," she said. "I went to every doctor, acupuncturist, and finally went to a psychologist. I said, 'I'm not depressed, I'm really happy, I have the love of my life, my career is great, my family is healthy. Nothing is wrong.'" Eventually, she was diagnosed with panic disorder.

Panic disorder, in case you're not familiar, is a condition marked by frequent and unexplained panic attacks, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Panic attacks are when you have a sudden wave of fear or discomfort, or a sense of losing control when there is no obvious danger or trigger. (It's worth noting that it is possible to have a panic attack without developing panic disorder, reports the NIMH.)

Panic attacks usually cause symptoms that can feel like a heart attack, notes the NIMH. These include trembling, tingling, or a rapid heart rate, and they can happen as frequently as several times a day or as little as a few times a year. There are several options for treatment for panic disorder, including antidepressants, talk therapy, or both, adds the NIMH.

"When a doctor tells you there's something wrong with your brain it's the scariest thing ever, so I went on antidepressants and it saved my life," said Trainor. While the singer seems to have no problem discussing her use of medication to treat her mental health, there are still stigmas around the subject, as she pointed out in an interview with Romper earlier this year.

Her son, Riley, spent some time in the NICU after Trainor gave birth because he had trouble waking up for feedings, she previously explained, noting that the nurses suggested she was to blame. "They kept asking me if I was on antidepressants during the pregnancy, and I was, but on the lowest dose possible, and all my doctors said it was safe and wouldn't affect him," she told Romper. "It was really fucked up. They had no name for what was wrong. He just wouldn’t wake up."

This isn't the first time Trainor has spoken about having panic attacks either. Trainor "went to the emergency room a couple of times" due to panic attacks, she told People in 2020. Taking medication and undergoing therapy and acupuncture helped her cope, she added. "Now it's been a couple years, and I haven't had a panic attack in so long I feel like I conquered it. I kicked some ass," Trainor told the magazine at the time.

Now, Trainor is her "happiest, best self," she said during her Time to Walk episode. The singer also shared advice for others. "If you're out there and you're like me, just begging for help, and lost and scared, there is hope I promise," she said. "As long as you find someone and tell someone."

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