Meghan Trainor reveals how vocal cord surgery left her in a dark place and battling mental health demons

Meghan Trainor thanked Carson Daly for opening up about his experiences with generalized anxiety disorder, for it helped her verbalize her complex emotions.

                            Meghan Trainor reveals how vocal cord surgery left her in a dark place and battling mental health demons
Meghan Trainor (Getty Images)

Singer Meghan Trainor, 24, has struggled with feelings of entrapment and despair for a while now, but she could not find the words to explain the complexity of emotions that were floating through her mind until she heard Carson Daly, anchor of TODAY, open up about his experience with generalized anxiety disorder. In conversation with Hoda Jotb, another TODAY host, she said: "He'll never know how much his video helped me — and my family. I played that for them and I was like, 'That's how I was feeling.' I just couldn’t say it. It's hard to explain."

Earlier this year in March, the "All about the bass" singer opened up about her battle with depression and anxiety in a podcast interview with Dan Wootton, The Sun reported. She spoke about her mental health issues triggered after her career was threatened due to a vocal cord surgery for the second time.  She said: “I thought, ‘My God, is it going to be over for me forever? I fell into a crazy, deep hole of depression and anxiety.” But her fiancé Daryl Sabara, most commonly known for his role as Juni Cortez in the ‘Spy Kids’ franchise, did not let her give up on her dreams. He motivated her to turn her life around. He even helped her lose 20lbs.

However, Trainor was on house arrest for a while because of fervent panic attacks and anxiety-induced physical problems. She explains: “When I had an ­episode it would last for three days. I was crippled and had this pain. Eventually, I was going to ­doctors, psychologists and therapists and I was like, ‘My back feels like someone has a flame to it, I’m not sure if I’m going crazy.’ And I’m feeling like I’m crazy, losing my mind. I remember standing in (US pharmacy) CVS with my friend in line and I saw the whole back row behind her move, when she didn’t. You know, moments like that I had, dissociation with your body and you think you’re schizophrenic — you’re seeing things. I was sitting in my bathroom and the lights turned yellow. In those moments, you’re terrified, you feel alone. You feel like there’s something wrong with you, and you’re embarrassed to talk about it. No one can help you. It’s your brain. It’s chemicals.”

She also recalled the moment she actually realized what was going on with her.  She said: “I went to the emergency room one night, because I thought I was allergic to what I ate. My throat was closing and I was having trouble breathing. They told me, ‘This is a full-blown panic attack.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘This is your brain tricking you, telling you that your throat . . . ’ It blows your mind. What I learned is people have it and don’t talk about it.”

Trainor soon realized that she was not the only one experiencing what she was. She confided in Sabara and her brother, who had experienced similar panic attacks. She said: “I was the poster child of ‘I’m brave and I love who I am and I’m here.’ And I was the opposite. I was crumbling in my bed, like, ‘I want to stay here and get through.’ You feel like you have the flu. You’re like, ‘How is my brain doing this? How does it have that much power over me?’ I didn’t understand it. I was completely confused. That’s why I had to research it.”

It was the research that drove Trainor to seek out professional help. She said: “I took time off. I took time for me. The hardest part is when you’re in the middle of it and truly believe there is no way this will ever end — ‘I’m going to be stuck like this forever’ — and I believed that, until I slowed down with my anxiety and it stopped happening 24 hours a day. It was only like an hour. I was like, ‘Wow, I have some ­control now.’ Your brain is another person and you have to have a ­relationship with it. It took months — I’m still in therapy. I would see my therapist once a week and I started working out a lot and that really helped me.”

In March, when Carson, 45, opened up about his personal struggles on TODAY, Trainor realized his words resonated with her on another level. During the segment, Carson spoke about his experience with anxiety and panic attacks through his childhood. By the 1990s when he was hosting MTV’s ‘Total Request Live,’ his anxiety was actually causing him a great deal of anguish. He speaks about visiting the hospital after an intense anxiety attack to ensure he wasn’t having a heart attack.  

For Trainor, it was almost as though Carson was speaking her mind unknowingly. She told Hoda, “Carson's struggle sounded awfully familiar. "It's the most confusing, frustrating thing ever because you're just trapped in it until you can figure it out.” Trainor was so grateful to Carson sharing his experiences that she made sure to thank him for unknowingly helping her understand herself. “I went up to him and I was like, ‘You don’t know what you’ve done for me, but it was amazing!’” she said.