“I Thought I Was Losing My Mind”: Jennifer Lopez Recounts Exhaustion-Induced Panic Attacks

Jennifer Lopez has long been known for taking no days off at the gym, but she recently revealed that dedication to her physical health actually stems from a desire to improve her mental health.

In the latest edition of her newsletter On the JLo, the pop star recalled her experience with exhaustion-induced panic attacks in her late 20s that left her “feeling physically paralyzed.” She wrote, “There was a time in my life where I used to sleep 3 to 5 hours a night. I’d be on set all day and in the studio all night and doing junkets and filming videos on the weekends. I was in my late 20s and I thought I was invincible. Until one day, I was sitting in a trailer, and all the work and the stress it brought with it, coupled with not enough sleep to recuperate mentally, caught up with me.”

Lopez said that she “went from feeling totally normal to thinking about what I needed to do that day and all of a sudden I felt as if I couldn’t move. I was completely frozen.” She said she “couldn’t see clearly” and the physical symptoms “started to scare me and the fear compounded itself. Now I know it was a classic panic attack brought on by exhaustion, but I had never even heard the term at the time.”

Because she didn’t have a name for what was happening to her, the singer said that she began to question her own sanity until a health professional finally suggested she take a look at her lifestyle. “My security guard on set came in and picked me up and drove me to the doctor. By the time I got there, I could at least speak again and I was so terrified I thought I was losing my mind,” Lopez recalled. “I asked the doctor if I was going crazy. He said, ‘No, you’re not crazy. You need sleep…get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, don’t drink caffeine, and make sure you get your workouts in if you’re going to do this much work.’”

Lopez credits that moment with helping her realize she’d let her “own self-care needs go completely.” She said, “I realized how serious the consequences could be of ignoring what my body and mind needed to be healthy—and that’s where my journey to wellness began.” Since then, The Wedding Planner star has made a concerted effort “to live a very healthy and balanced life.” She explained that her philosophy on wellness has become “about pro-living versus anti-aging.” Lopez also recommends the power of a good night’s sleep, which she says “accumulates over time,” explaining, “Sometimes I wake up and say, ‘Wow! I just lost 10 years off my face!’”

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