Shortly after seven on a sunny spring morning in 2004, I freaked out in front of five million people. I was filling in on “Good Morning America,” anchoring the news updates at the top of each hour. I had done this job plenty of times before, so I had no reason to foresee what would happen shortly after the co-hosts, Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson, tossed it over to me for my brief newscast: I was overtaken by a massive, irresistible blast of fear. It felt like the world was ending. My heart was thumping. I was gasping for air. I had pretty much lost the ability to speak. And all of it was compounded by the knowledge that my freak-out was being broadcast live on national television. Halfway through the six stories I was supposed to read, I simply bailed, squeaking out a “Back to you.”

Posted On January 5, 2020


“There was a time when basic things—like driving, climbing a flight of stairs, taking a shower, or going through the checkout line at the grocery store—landed me somewhere between mortal unease and full-throttle terror.”

A single panic attack that struck out of the blue led to another and another and another, along with the pounding heart, tunnel vision, shaking hands, and inexplicable fear for her life that made it feel like there was no safe place in the world — even in her sleep. Her panic would stop at nothing.

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