I love Meghan Trainor’s music. With empowering lyrics, her pop songs are upbeat, happy, and make me want to sing and dance. I’ve always pictured her that way too — bubbly, energetic, and confident. Maybe that’s why I was surprised when I heard her talk about her struggle with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
But hold on… why would that surprise me?
As a mental health advocate and someone who has recovered from panic disorder, I know darn well it doesn’t matter what the person looks like on the outside, he or she can still have problems on the inside.
People have said to me, “How can you possibly have anxiety when you’re so calm all the time? It doesn’t make sense.” I shrug and think, I don’t know. I can’t help it.
That’s the thing. You never know.
I saw Meghan Trainor on NBC’s Today. She said the person who helped her “figure out” her anxiety was Today anchor, Carson Daly. A few months ago, Carson talked about living with anxiety.
“He’ll never know how much his video helped me and my family. I told them that’s how I feel, I just couldn’t explain it,” Meghan said. “I went up to him (Carson) and I was like, ‘You don’t know what you’ve done for me, but it was amazing.'”
That reminded me of a post I wrote earlier this year, An Awe-Inspiring Chain Reaction. NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan tweeted about his depression. That encouraged another NBA All-Star player, Kevin Love, to open up about his panic attacks. Which helped Carson Daly talk about his lifelong struggle with anxiety.
It was a chain reaction that gained momentum from the honesty and openness of each man.
And now, Meghan. She said when she was experiencing panic attacks, she assumed no one else felt that way. I used to assume that too.
I didn’t think anyone else in the world could possibly understand what I was going through. It didn’t cross my mind that others experienced the same scary panic symptoms. So I kept quiet and hid my fears. It was the worst feeling to be embarrassed and ashamed of something I couldn’t control.
One of the first steps in my recovery was when my doctor told me millions of other people have panic attacks. That shocked me. It was powerful to know I wasn’t alone.
We can’t underestimate the impact others can have on us. Hearing another person explain their challenges can be a turning point. It can clarify how we feel. And more importantly, it can help us realize we are not alone.
We must continue to speak openly about mental health. Don’t stop the conversation.
Keep the chain reaction going.