Arrow's Stephen Amell Had a Panic Attack While Recording a Podcast: 'I Was Just Done'

The Arrow star abruptly left the taping but returned three weeks later to speak openly about the experience

Stephen Amell
Stephen Amell. Photo: Phillip Faraone/WireImage

Stephen Amell is opening up about panic attacks after having one midway through recording a podcast.

The former Arrow star was taping an episode of Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum when he started to get overheated and nauseous, telling former Smallville star and podcast host Michael Rosenbaum that he “might be sick.”

Amell, 38, who had recently ended his eighth and final season on Arrow after requesting to leave the show to spend more time with his family, said he needed to cut the podcast short and walked home to get some fresh air, declining Rosenbaum’s offer to give him a ride. He made it home to his wife and 6-year-old daughter and ended up on the couch with chills.

That was in December — but Amell decided to return to the podcast and finish recording the episode three weeks later so he could explain what had happened.

“I got home, I got onto the couch, put a blanket over me, and was freezing but just sweating bullets. I told my wife, I had a really bad panic attack,” Amell explained on the episode, released Tuesday.

Part of the problem, he said, was that after eight years of playing a superhero on Arrow and staying in superhero shape, he had let go once filming ended.

“I had gotten into such a rut with physical fitness, or lack thereof, that there was no physical release, no release of endorphins,” he said. “I was left with, not to get too personal, very little sexual appetite because I was doing nothing except digging myself into a rut with my body.”

Amell said that because he felt physically off, and went to the doctor before meeting Rosenbaum to tape the podcast. But the doctor said that there was nothing wrong with him.

“And that’s when you have that moment of realization that, ‘Oh my god, this is in my head,’ ” Amell said. “Which is scarier. I’d rather them tell me, you’ve got to get your spleen removed. But no, there was nothing.”

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He also hadn’t processed the end of Arrow.

“The leaving of the show, combined with just, not really breaking away from it in my life … it was like I needed this clean break. I needed to go on a trip. I needed to drop my phone. I just hadn’t disconnected,” he said.

All of that meant that Amell’s body had just given out, and led to his panic attack.

“Every once in a while people hit a wall and need to reset. I happened to hit mine on Michael’s podcast,” he tells PEOPLE.

Now, three weeks later, Amell is “on the B side” of a much-needed break and doing better.

“I took real stock in the fact that I was taking a break and I needed to enjoy my holiday,” he said on the podcast.

And Amell decided to let Rosenbaum share the recording of his panic attack.

“I commend Stephen for not only coming back to finish the interview but for being extremely brave and allowing me to share such a personal experience of his with the world,” Rosenbaum tells PEOPLE.

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