Meghan Trainor Opens Up About Anxiety, Panic Attacks & Discovering Self-Love

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“I write my songs very much to myself. They’re to remind myself to take care of myself, to love myself, and to be kind to myself."

From the moment Meghan burst into public consciousness five years ago with ‘All About That Bass’, encouraging women to shake their butts and feel good while doing it, she became a global poster girl for body confidence and acceptance.

Since then, she has left nothing of herself in the wings with her soul-baring lyrics, which commonly promote healthy self-confidence in her fans. So it’s intriguing to discover that her self-esteem is still a work in progress.

“That’s who I want to be,” she says. “I write my songs very much to myself. I hope I’m helping strangers too, but they’re to remind myself to take care of myself, to love myself, and to be kind to myself. Sometimes I’m feeling really hot, sometimes – once a month – I’m not. When I play those songs, I’m like ‘For these three minutes, I am a queen’, and I’m loving myself and it’s awesome.”

The songs she references are from Treat Myself, which dropped in January 2020, almost four years after the release of her last album, and it’s some of her best work – raw and honest, yet still trademark Trainor fun. During the three-year writing process she “adopted two dogs, got married [and] had time for myself”, the latter being shorthand for a deeply personal journey of recovery after a second emergency vocal cord operation in December 2016, 10 months after she won a Grammy for Best New Artist, left her so anxious about the future of her music career she sought therapy.

“I thought, ‘It’s over, I’m not going to sing ever again,’” explains Meghan. “I went full dive into the dark zone of deep thoughts.”

Shortly before the second procedure – 17 months after the first – she endured her first anxiety attack, backstage at America’s CBS This Morning show before appearing live to announce the 2017 Grammy nominations.

“I was so tired and had vocal issues. I looked at my schedule and thought, ‘I’m not going to make it, I’m going to lose my voice.’ I started hyperventilating, crying hard, and shaking. I kept saying: ‘What’s happening?’ It rocked me,” she recalls.

A friend in Meghan’s dressing room, familiar with panic attacks, encouraged her to focus on surrounding objects and name them one-by-one. “It calmed me down,” she recalls. “When it finally settled after 20 minutes, I was like ‘So that’s what it is?’”

Initially, Meghan struggled to deal with her reality. Even researching “anxiety attack” on the internet had the power to trigger an episode.

“One night I looked up ‘explain what an anxiety attack is’ on TED Talks, and within four seconds I fell over and was like, ‘Oh God, shut it off!’ I couldn’t hear about it for a long time.”

Meghan became a prisoner of her own thoughts, a problem worsened by weeks of enforced silence – firstly to heal her hemorrhaging vocal cords to avoid permanent damage and proceed with surgery, then for weeks during recovery. The isolation was crippling.

Read more of Meghan's exclusive chat with Happiful HERE

 

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