Carson Daly suffers from panic attacks: 'I feel like I'm dying'

Looks can be deceiving. Today anchorCarson Dalymay appear calm, cool and collected on TV, but he suffers from panic attacks. And sometimes they hit when he’s on air. 

The 44-year-old, who hosted Total Request Live from 1998 to 2002, suffered his first episodeminutes before going live on the MTV show. “I had a hard time breathing,” he revealed during the Friday, March 8, episode of Today. “I was terrified for no apparent reason.” He added that didn’t know what was happening happening at the time.

The TV personality now knows he has generalized anxiety disorder, a condition characterized by “persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things,” according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 

“I was a worrywart kid. I was always worrying,” The Voice host said on Today. “My father died when I was 5. I had an ulcer when I was in high school. I’ve been nervous my whole life.” And it takes a toll on his body.

See photos of Carson Daly:

22 PHOTOS
Carson Daly out and about
See Gallery
Carson Daly out and about
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Carson Daly attends NBC's New York mid season press junket at Four Seasons Hotel New York on March 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Carson Daly on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Savannah Guthrie, Carson Daly, Sunny, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 09: Carson Daly is seen during the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on February 9, 2018 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Carson Daly on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Carson Daly, Al Roker, and Willie Geist on Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Carson Daly, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker on Friday, January 5, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 07: (L-R) TV personalities Sheinelle Jones, Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Carson Daly attend The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: Carson Daly on Thursday, January 4, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Carson Daly on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE VOICE -- 'Live Finale' Episode 1321B -- Pictured: (l-r) Carson Daly, Alicia Keys -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE VOICE -- 'Live Semi Finals' Episode 1320A -- Pictured: Carson Daly -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Al Roker and Carson Daly on Friday, December 1, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE VOICE -- 'Live Top 12' Episode 1317B -- Pictured: (l-r) Carson Daly, Elizabeth Banks from 'Pitch Perfect 3' -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE VOICE -- 'Live Top 12' Episode 1317A -- Pictured: Carson Daly -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Carson Daly on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Carson Daly on Thursday, October 26, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Carson Daly on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: (L-R) Carson Daly and Kelly Clarkson on NBC's 'Today' at Rockefeller Plaza on September 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic)
THE VOICE -- 'Battle Rounds' -- Pictured: (l-r) Dave Crosby, Carson Daly, Dylan Gerard -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE VOICE -- 'Battle Rounds' -- Pictured: (l-r) Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Carson Daly, Adam Levine, Blake Shleton -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)
THE VOICE -- Season: 13 -- Pictured: Carson Daly -- (Photo by: Andrew Eccles/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“At times I feel like there’s a saber-tooth tiger right here,” he said, referring to the tightness in his chest. “And it’s going to kill me,** attack me,*** and bite my head off. I’m scared as if that’s really happening. You feel like you’re dying.” 

Daly, who sharesJackson, 8, Etta, 5, and London, 3, with wife Siri Pinter, said the panic attacks don’t have anything to do with being a public figure. “People think, ‘Oh, he has anxiety. High pressure life. You know, you’re on television,’”he said. 

“I’ve had had heightened anxiety and mild panic attacks at the playground with my own children and wife there,” he explained. “The feeling was so gripping and so terrifying that I literally had to leave and excuse myself.” 

To manage the symptoms, Daly sees a cognitive therapist. “Somebody who teaches you about anxiety, the model of it, and offers you tools on how to kind of work through it,” he shared. Other helpful techniques for him include yoga and exercise.

“If you ever watch The Voice live on NBC, watch on a Monday or Tuesday night, I’m never still,” Daly said. “It’s the same thing with the Today show in the morning. Some days I’m just a little anxious. I really wear the way I am like a badge of honor. This is who I am and I’m proud of it.

Read Full Story