For decades, Pink has been known for her fearless stage persona, but she still has her share of vulnerabilities like any other person. For Mental Health Awareness Month, the “All I Know So Far” singer opened up about the debilitating panic attacks she used to live with—and why talking about it is so important.
“I used to get pretty awful panic attacks and I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t have anybody to talk to about it and I didn’t know what to do,” Pink said in a video shared to Instagram and Twitter. “I would feel like I was having strokes, like, stroke symptoms, it was terrifying.” She shared this part of her story in partnership with the nonprofit Child Mind Institute, whose new campaign seeks to prevent young people from remaining silent about their mental health.
Panic attacks are the hallmark sign of panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine. These attacks are characterized by sudden, unexpected feelings of intense fear and anxiety, as well as distressing physical symptoms. The signs of a panic attack can include an irregular or racing heartbeat, shaking, sweating, breathing difficulties, chills, chest pain, nausea, and feeling like you have lost control. In severe attacks, a person may even feel like they are having a heart attack or dying.
For Pink (born Alecia Beth Moore), panic attacks would sometimes prompt her to visit the emergency room, but her concerns were often brushed off. “I had a number of EKGs [electrocardiograms] that always led back to ‘You’re fine, you’re fine, there’s nothing wrong, you’re imagining it all, it’s all in your head,’” she recalled.
No one deserves to live with the symptoms of panic disorder—and professional treatment is necessary when the condition starts to overwhelm a person’s daily life. Some go-to treatment options include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or various forms of talk therapy, where you can discuss your feelings with a licensed mental health professional in order to better understand your anxiety triggers and how to manage them. For Pink, therapy was a game-changer. “I started learning all these steps on how to take care of myself, I’d never been taught how to take care of myself,” Pink said.