Paula Deen on Battling Her Anxiety Disorder
May 18, 2012
In part two of her revealing new ET interview, Paula Deen opens up to Nancy O'Dell about overcoming the crippling panic disorder agoraphobia, which she says triggered so much fear that it kept her from leaving her home for weeks at a time.
"I would have panic attacks and my arms would go numb and you feel like you're having a heart attack," Paula tells Nancy about symptoms of the anxiety disease during an interview at her sprawling Savannah, GA estate. "And I kept a brown bag next to me at all times so I could quickly breathe in it. It's just a fear that would come over you like no other."
Many agoraphobia sufferers confine themselves to their homes because they fear they'll develop a harmful medical issue on the outside. Paula says she developed the condition after the death of her father and it worsened four years later when her mother passed away. "I was a basket case, I became so frightened of death," she said.
Paula -- who now oversees a multimillion-dollar culinary empire and recently received a Daytime Emmy nomination for her Food Network show Paula's Best Dishes -- reveals that she eventually overcame the illness through spiritual reflection and prayer.
Watch the video to also hear how cooking in the Deen household is always a family affair -- and to see the beloved chickens that Paula rescued and keeps on her farm.