The excruciating moment a North Korea expert suffers an anxiety attack and freezes on live television

Dr Benjamin Habib froze on live TV - and now he's sharing his story. Photo / Supplied
Dr Benjamin Habib froze on live TV - and now he's sharing his story. Photo / Supplied

This is the excruciating moment an Australian academic froze on live television after suffering an anxiety attack while being interviewed about North Korea's recent rocket launch.

Dr Benjamin Habib became lost for words after being asked to give an expert opinion about the launch on ABC24 News Breakfast on Monday.

The lecturer in International Relations at La Trobe University, Melbourne, has now revealed he is 'devastated' by the 'very public humiliation' after being overcome by his anxiety.

Despite the efforts of presenters Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland to coax him out of his terror, he stumbled through his answers and lost his train of thought mid-sentence.

When asked: "Do they really care what the world thinks about what they're doing?" Dr Habib answered, "No they don't" before pausing and admitting: "I'm losing it here".

He has now bravely opened up about the experience, which he described as "the worst public embarrassment of my career" in a blog post for the ABC.

"The interview was a disaster from the get-go as I melted down under the weight of anxiety," he wrote.

"The experience was mortifying, the feeling afterward devastating, and the humiliation very public.

"In doing the News Breakfast interview I inadvertently thrust my lifelong battle with severe anxiety into the public domain."

The lecturer admitted that he "did not sleep a single minute" between accepting the invitation on Sunday afternoon and doing the interview on Monday morning.

Dr Habib said he felt "instant discomfort" when he was led into the "claustrophobic" which was filled with cameras, auto-prompter screens, TVs and computer screens.

The expert had 'no memory' of the first question as his mind was "swimming in a haze".

"As I realised that seconds were ticking away without me forming a coherent answer, the physical anxiety reactions intensified," he said.

But with every question the presenters asked, he 'struggled more' as his anxiety took control of his mind and body.

"I was in complete shock. I have never before experienced such an intense anxiety reaction, even as someone with a long history with social anxieties.

"All I wanted to do was crawl into a hole away from human contact".

- Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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