By Scott T. Sterling

Julia Michaels knows anxiety.

The GRAMMY-nominated pop star has shared an emotional essay on how to deal with anxiety, a particularly poignant message during the holiday season.

“I started having anxiety for the first time when I was 18,” Michaels revealed to Glamour. “I’d just signed my first publishing deal, and I felt so much pressure to perform that it sent my mind and body down something that felt like a never-ending spiral. I thought I was dying.”

Related: Julia Michaels Triumphs Over Breakup, Stage Fright

The singer-songwriter goes on to detail her ongoing battle with anxiety, sharing that she suffered attacks during her Billboard Music Awards performance of hit song, “Issues,” and during a writing session with Ed Sheeran and producer Benny Blanco.

“I was asked by Ed Sheeran and producer Benny Blanco to come to a house in Malibu and work with them and a few of Ed’s favorite collaborators,” she explained. “One day, I was writing in the courtyard with singer/songwriter Foy Vance when these cameras that were following Ed came to see where we were at with the progress of our song. I became so overwhelmed that I discreetly walked away and ran into Benny’s room. I curled up in a ball on his bathroom floor and hyperventilated.”

“Benny left the room and came back in with ice,” Michaels continued. “He had me hold it in my palms tightly to distract my brain from my thoughts and to focus on the cold cubes in my hands. He told me this is one of the methods he uses when he has panic attacks. He stayed next to me and talked me through it. It was the first time someone had stood in front of me and understood me. He knew exactly how I was feeling. It was the first time I didn’t feel so alone. I will never forget that, and I will always have a love and appreciation for him because of that day.”

Michaels ends the essay on a positive note, imploring sufferers to seek out an understanding ear to get through anxiety issues.

“People with anxiety often don’t talk to others because they think they’re are burdening them with their problems. But all it takes is one person to listen. To care,” she stressed. “To make you feel like you’re not crazy. I wouldn’t be making these huge strides every day without the incredible people I surround myself with. Without the help of therapy, my friends, my family, my fans, and my colleagues, I wouldn’t be on this journey. And I’m so glad I am.”

Read Julia Michaels’ full essay here.

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