Rita Ora reveals battle with anxiety saw her mistake panic attacks for asthma

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Rita Ora has opened up about how anxiety caused her to struggle to breathe. (Getty Images)
Rita Ora has opened up about how anxiety caused her to struggle to breathe. (Getty Images)

Rita Ora has revealed that she originally mistook her panic attacks for asthma after finding herself struggling to breathe.

The singer, 31, has opened up about how her anxiety dates back to her teens when her mother Vera was told she had breast cancer.

She told The Independent: "I went to the doctors. I was like, 'I think I have asthma.'

"I didn’t realise it was a panic attack. I think the word 'panic attack' freaked me out."

When Ora's mother's was diagnosed in 2005, the star – who was then 15 – recalled feeling "helpless" at the frightening news.

She said: "I was helpless. I felt like, 'Well, what am I gonna do without my mum?' I couldn’t fathom a world without her."

Fortunately, the cancer was caught early and her mother was able to overcome the condition, but Ora has continued to have therapy since she was 17.

She said: "I don’t know how I could function without therapy."

According to the NHS, feeling short of breath is one of the key symptoms of panic attacks, which can last from five to 30 minutes.

The singer's panic attacks began in her teens when her mum Vera was diagnosed with breast cancer (pictured in 2016). (Getty Images)
The singer's panic attacks began in her teens when her mum Vera was diagnosed with breast cancer (pictured in 2016). (Getty Images)

The Masked Singer judge was born in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, and moved aged one to the UK with her family as a refugee in 1991.

She grew up in Notting Hill and attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School, before signing her first record deal in 2012.

Ora – who is believed to be dating the director Taika Waititi – has revealed in the past that she has had her eggs frozen twice, at the ages of 24 and 27.

In the same interview, she said: "I’d love to have a nice big family... I think as women, we put that pressure on ourselves, subconsciously, because we feel like that is our duty – to create and give life.

"So, I just wanted to not worry about it. And I didn’t after, and it was the best thing I ever did.”

Watch: Celebrities reveal their mental health struggles

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