Brett Eldredge Opens up About Anxiety Struggle

Brett Eldredge is opening up about his ongoing struggle with anxiety. The 32-year-old admits he has battled panic attacks for years, ever since he was a child.

“As a kid, I would kind of have like a panic attack ... but I didn’t even know what that was,” Eldredge revealed on the ABC podcast, 10% Happier with Dan Harris. “[In] college, I remember times where I would go to a party and I would be breaking into sweats and, like, just drenched, and I’d just [think], ‘Is something wrong with me?’”

Eldredge would have such a strong reaction to his panic attacks, he visited the emergency room several times, convinced there was something physically wrong with him.

“I can't tell you how many times I went to the doctor thinking, ‘There's something really wrong,’” Eldredge said. “I’m always looking for somebody else that's experiencing the same thing as me. It's because you feel like you're all alone.”

Some of Eldredge's worst moments are often before he takes the stage, but once he starts performing, his anxiety, perhaps surprisingly, leaves.

“I would build myself up to thinking something was going to happen to me when I was on the stage, or that I was going to have a panic attack on stage, or I was like, ‘They're going to see me as a fool,’” Eldredge admitted. “I could be a superhero up there once I get there. ... I'm in my element, in my flow of what I do. I turn into the best version... of myself. It's all the psyche going up to it.”

The 32-year-old recalled one time he thought he was going to pass out right before he was supposed to perform.

“This crazy music's going on ... you build energy before you run out there on stage and [the announcer says], 'Hey, the star is here to sing songs for you,' whatever," Eldredge recounted. "And I remember I was like, 'I don't know what's wrong with me but I'm freaked out and I'm short of breath and I'm seeing stars,’ and I had to sit down on the side of the stage," he said. "Then I get out there, and eventually it's OK."

Eldredge has found a few ways to help him cope with his anxiety – by using the 10% Happier app, and by writing in a gratitude journal, both ways to help him focus on what is, and isn't, important.

“The affirmations things are a great thing to think of [for] kind of giving yourself [the] confidence of, ‘Hey I really can do this and I don't have to be so hard on myself,’” Eldredge acknowledged. “I was looking for that next thing, and ‘what's the next hit' ... and then you're never really living in that moment at all. And I was very guilty of that.”

Eldredge is getting better at dealing with his anxiety, but he concedes that nothing is a perfect fix.

“I still have trouble," he said. "It's not like I'm not happy. I just get so into trying to be the best at what I do. We're all trying to strive for these jank[y] goals. You sacrifice a lot of what you love to do that."

"If I can continue to grow, and [grow] with mindfulness," he added. "I think that it can become a thing where it helps everything that I do — and it already does.”

One way Eldredge has found to focus on the positive is taking care of his dog, Edgar, who travels everywhere with him.

"I might play in front of 30,000 people and then I walk off — and this is really hard to explain to people because it's such a weird experience — but walking off stage and going onto your bus, and you're by yourself after having the most insane adrenaline rush ever," Eldredge said. "Everybody's going crazy ... people give you high-fives, and then [you climb onto] your bus and it's just you and the walls of a tour bus. I'd be there by myself. Now I've got Edgar to be there with me. It just made me more happy."

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Edgar stars in a new video for "Love Someone," which is available for download on iTunes.

Photo Credit: Getty images/John Shearer