Karina Smirnoff's 'Dancing with the Stars' Blog: Why I've Been Crying (and Had an Anxiety Attack!) in This Week's Rehearsals

The DWTS pro blogs exclusively for PEOPLE

Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin

Dancing with the Starspro Karina Smirnoff is blogging about her experience on the reality dance competition’s 22nd season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Smirnoff and her partner Doug Flutie on Twitter!

Switch-Up Week could have gone better for me, but I am so happy for Dougie.

He got his highest scores of the competition so far, and that puts him in a great place going into tonight’s elimination episode.

On the other hand, things could have gone better for Antonio Brown and me.

[Guest judge Maskim Chmerkovskiy] said we didn’t have enough cha-cha content in our routine and scored us low. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but Latin dance is my specialty. I don’t know how to do a routine without a lot of content in it, and I really packed a lot in that number.

It wasn’t a cha-cha song, really, so some things were modified but I think Antonio did a fantastic job and I wish he would have gotten better scores.

The great thing about Switch-Up Week is that Doug and I both came back to the rehearsal room with fresh energy and an excitement to work together again this week.

That’s good because for Famous Dances Night, we are both being pushed far out of our comfort zones.

Tonight, we’ll be dancing to a Bollywood number from Slumdog Millionaire.

Dougie has been making great progress in becoming a ballroom dancer, but Bollywood is very, very different. That’s made for a very anxiety-filled rehearsal process.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t shed a few tears.

I even had to call my mom at one point and tell her, “I’m breathing but I just can’t seem to feel like I’m getting air.” And she told me, “You’re having an anxiety attack.”

It freaked me out a bit, but that just shows you how much this competition means to me and how much I want Dougie to succeed.

RELATED VIDEO: Karina Smirnoff and Doug Flutie’s First Rehearsal

Making this week more difficult is the fact that I am also having to learn a style of dance as I’m helping teach Doug.

It took a minute, but now I’ve fallen in love with the style. It’s so strong and demanding and sexy. The hardest part is making sure all the moves and hand gestures are super clean.

The hand gestures are the most important because if we are even a little bit off with them, we could make a gesture that is really offensive.

My stress level finally went down a bit after Friday when we were able to make it through the entire routine for the first time.

Now, I’m super excited to show the judges and the audience just how great Doug has gotten at the routine. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

To vote for Karina and Doug during season 22 of Dancing with the Stars – which airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC – dial 1-800-868-3402.

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