Ellie Goulding had panic attacks: ‘I used to cover my face with a pillow’


Ellie Goulding is opening up about suffering from paralyzing anxiety and panic attacks. Ellie says her anxiety stems from her rise to fame as a popstar and was triggered by performing in front of huge crowds. She didn’t suffer from stage fright but rather from overwhelming insecurity that she wouldn’t live up to everyone’s expectations, herself included. However, Ellie said she found a way to combat her anxiety with positive reinforcement – and kickboxing.

(Ellie Goulding), 30, recalled feeling overwhelmed when she shot to stardom in 2010 and started performing in front of huge crowds. “I started having panic attacks, and the scariest part was it could be triggered by anything. I used to cover my face with a pillow whenever I had to walk outside from the car to the studio,” she wrote. “My new life as a pop star certainly wasn’t as glamorous as all my friends from home thought. Secretly, I was really struggling physically and emotionally.”

The “Lights” songstress said she believed that her panic attacks were sparked by a lack of confidence. “I was scared I wasn’t as good of a singer as everyone I thought I was. And as the stakes grew, I was afraid of letting everyone, including myself, down.”

Goulding was “paralyzed with nerves” every time she would perform on live television. “I told myself that this was exactly where I was supposed to be and if other people believed in me, I had to start believing in myself,” she wrote. “But there was another way I found inner confidence: boxing and kickboxing. I love that extra kick of adrenaline. Keeping fit doesn’t mean spending hours at a gym; the key is to find a workout you really love.”

The Grammy nominee coped by pushing herself in fitness classes like Barry’s Bootcamp or Equilibrium TRX and by working out with her trainer, Faisal Abdalla. “It wasn’t about any change in my outward appearance; it was about seeing and feeling myself get better and stronger. It carried over into other areas of my life, and now I truly feel that exercise — however you like to work out — is good for the soul,” she wrote.

[From US Weekly]

I’m not Ellie’s biggest fan but I love this story. I understand it’s easy to think ‘what did she expect’ about becoming a popstar, of course there would be crowds and expectations. However, so many dreams we have are different in reality vs. how we fantasized about them. I know I worked/fought for things only to realize I wasn’t where I wanted to be at all. I’m willing to take Ellie at her word, in which case, I really feel for her. Imagine getting everything you want only to have it cripple you.

The part I want to focus on, though, is Ellie using boxing and kickboxing to fight her anxiety. I am a firm believer in positive self-reinforcement but I know that does not work for everyone. I have, however, heard that boxing, kickboxing and all martial arts have been a confidence builder to those who’ve taken them. Even those who took the classes for other reasons noted how much it helped their self-esteem. I run, as you know, and The Mister lifts weights but we could use a little less stress and my kids could use some confidence. I think it’s time to look into family classes.

In other Ellie news – I really like her new shoe line with Diechmann – and I can afford them!

A post shared by elliegoulding (@elliegoulding) on


Photo credit: WENN Photos and Getty Images

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

6 Responses to “Ellie Goulding had panic attacks: ‘I used to cover my face with a pillow’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Michelle says:

    ++ for kickboxing. I did it for fitness and recognized all the benefits that came with it – confidence, self defense skills, an awareness of just how strong and weak I was. They say know your strengths and weaknesses. It gave me an overall sense of being a-ok with myself, beyond the exercise.

    I hope you do try and enjoy whatever it is you do.

  2. k37744 says:

    Agreed. Exercise and sport are SO good for treating any of my anxiety or stress. Doesn’t get rid of it 100%, but knocks down enough to make it manageable.

    Plus, look at her gorgeous legs!
    Definite bonus. 😉

  3. Beth says:

    I don’t know who this girl is, but I know what she talking about. My anxiety attacks started when I was moving to Florida 16 years ago. I wouldn’t know anybody and I didn’t want to leave the town and state I was born, raised,and loved. After meds and therapy made me better, I thought I would be fine forever. Trump destroying our country and not being able to get his supporters to see the facts is frustrating. When people don’t understand what I’m trying to explain, it brings on anxiety again. Hopefully the Trump mess will stop and make me feel safe again. I can’t imagine having to be famous and well known and having panic attacks. I hope she’s better forever

  4. Angela82 says:

    I didn’t start having panic attacks until I was in my late 20s (7-ish years ago) when I went unemployed for a pretty significant period. Something just set it off and I am not one who really stays up at night overthinking things. I have no idea why I get them. They tapered off until the election this year. 🙁 Since then its been pretty bad. I try to explain to my boyfriend and my mom that it doesn’t really feel like I am just overly anxious and worried about certain things, it literally feels like I’m going to die. I will say getting back into exercise and eating healthy has really helped me the past couple weeks. i think the most frustrating things is being a psych major and working for a mental health agency that has me a loss as to why I can’t talk myself out of them.

  5. meh says:

    So instead of covering her face with pillows, she decided to cut out the middle man and just make her face a big pillow?

  6. Raina says:

    I’m glad she found an outlet. Anxiety can be so debilitating. On a quick sidenote, however, why is she always standing with her legs so apart like she’s about to take a piss.