July 29, 2021

Carson Daly’s Comeback Story - Bringing Mental Health Out Of The Shadows

Carson Daly’s Comeback Story - Bringing Mental Health Out Of The Shadows

Carson Daly, known for his charisma and energy on stage and on the mic, shares how he struggled with anxiety and panic attacks, and how he almost ended up hiding away from the world completely. Find out why Carson is so passionate about bringing...


Carson Daly, known for his charisma and energy on stage and on the mic, shares how he struggled with anxiety and panic attacks, and how he almost ended up hiding away from the world completely. Find out why Carson is so passionate about bringing mental health into the national conversation, why it’s so important to find someone you trust to talk to if you suffer from depression and anxiety, and how gratitude and meditation allow you to take life one day at a time.

  • Carson grew up with fond memories in Southern California. He lost his father when he was young but his mother remarried and he became part of another family. Carson’s parents are a big part of how he thinks and feels like he does now.
  • When his father died, Carson wasn’t old enough to really recognize it as pain at the time. The pain was dispersed later in his life.
  • Carson’s earliest real teacher was his fifth grade teacher, Mr. Simons. He was the first non-parent person to make a real impact in his life and was always looking for deeper, teachable moments. Carson’s mom was also a big source of life lessons for Carson growing up. He got a balance of confidence from his mother and practicality from his stepfather.
  • Carson wanted to be a professional golfer when he was younger. He was actually good friends with Tiger Woods in high school. He tried to go pro but it didn’t pan out for him. 
  • Carson got connected with radio in his early 20’s and, being dedicated, he rose the ranks very quickly.
  • Only in the last few years did Carson realize that he struggled for decades with depression and anxiety. There were multiple times where he would have panic attacks and think he was going to die without understanding what the real problem was.
  • For Carson, anxiety was not a clinical term growing up. He believed that for a long time until he was educated enough to know how wrong that was.
  • The best day for a lot of people with mental health scenarios is the day they get diagnosed. When Carson was finally diagnosed with panic disorder, it was a major turning point in his life and a great awakening.
  • Society has a perception of people on television and in sports. Carson is working towards making it more acceptable to talk about your struggles.
  • Carson chose cognitive therapy as his treatment instead of opting for a pharmaceutical solution. One of the first things his therapist wanted him to do was hyperventilate and trigger a panic attack to help him understand the threat that his body was perceiving.
  • At Carson’s lowest point, he was on the verge of agoraphobia. The danger of panic attacks is that you may begin to avoid situations that could initiate those attacks, which gradually compresses your world until you're stuck in bed and hiding away from everything.
  • Carson put in a lot of work in therapy to push through that fear around triggering panic attacks. The only way to get through them was to go through them.
  • The breakthrough moment for Carson happened on the Today Show and it happened organically. After another guest shared his mental health journey, Carson said he had dealt with essentially the same struggle. Now Carson owns the mental health space on MSNBC.
  • Carson now uses his platform and voice to highlight mental health issues and other people who are helping bring the conversation to the rest of the world.
  • Carson’s willingness to share his experience came from doing the 12 Step work in recovery meetings. Knowing that he had the power to impact and help somebody else motivates him to have that conversation and share his story with whomever wants to hear it.
  • Suffering in silence is never the way. We can’t live life alone. 
  • If Carson could send his past self a short message, it would be something along the lines of “things will get better, even if you don’t believe it.”
  • If you know what’s holding you back but don’t know the next steps, talk to someone. If you can get into therapy, do it, but if that’s not an option, find someone you trust and just start an honest conversation. You will feel much better and it will allow you to explore your courage and ability to talk in other venues. Talking is the key.
  • Feeling grateful is vital. Carson now practices gratitude everyday and that helped counteract a lot of the ailments that he suffered from.
  • If you’re meditating, focus your mind on something around you and, when your mind strays, bring it back. Each time you do, you grow stronger in your awareness. One of the best ways to begin is by downloading a meditation app like Calm.
  • Starting your day with meditation instead of picking up your phone is game changing. Meditation can integrate with your daily practice of surrendering and letting go. This practice allows you to be free from yourself and step into your power.
  • Taking life one day at a time has allowed Carson to pull back his perspective and stick to his journey and the positive trend in his life. No one day or one moment is as big or as bad as it may seem.
  • Carson’s comeback shoutout goes to God and his first therapist that diagnosed him.

Carson Daly

American television host, radio personality, producer, and television personality

Carson Daly is an American television host, radio personality, producer, and television personality. Prior to 2003, Daly was a VJ on MTV's Total Request Live, and a DJ for the Southern California-based radio station 106.7 KROQ-FM.