Anxiety is often portrayed in movies and television shows as being constantly
bombarded with panic attacks and mental breakdowns. While this can be some peoples
anxiety, it does not represent other people’s experiences. As someone who deals with
anxiety, mine does not look like it does in Hollywood. Instead my anxiety comes over
me in a wave and feels like someone is sitting on my chest, creating a weight and a
pressure that can make it hard for me to breathe. Sometimes the weight will lift in
minutes, but sometimes it will stay there and it can feel like I’m suffocating under this
invisible pressure. It can go on for a few hours or it can last for days, of me just walking
around feeling like I could crack at any moment. At times it feels like there is non stop
panic, like I am constantly forgetting something and falling behind everyone else. It can
be scary and confusing, but over the years I have learned to manage my symptoms. For
me managing my anxiety comes in different forms of self care such as binging on
Netflix, going to the gym or manage my time. I will normally have my whole day planned
out in my calendar in order to help ease the stress that can come along with school,
work and having a social life. But this is my way of dealing with anxiety, different people
may need more help with their anxiety or none at all and it is okay to need the help of
others to get through.
As a society we have to dismiss this typical portrayal of anxiety, because my
anxiety isn’t the same as someone else’s anxiety. We both have different symptoms
and triggers, because just as we as individuals are unique so are our mental illnesses.
From my own experiences, it is unhealthy to try and force people into these outdated
ideas of what anxiety is and can reaffirm unhealthy stereotypes about mental illness.
Anxiety does not stop people from living their lives, and it does not mean they do
not go out and cannot have vibrant social lives. People can go to parties or run
successful companies and still being dealing with anxiety on the daily. It is just another
hurdle that we have to jump to get to the finish line, but it does not stop us from finishing
a race or obtaining our goals.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their anxiety, reach out and get
help, there is no shame in getting help while going through this journey. Check out our
resources page for some great people who can help you with your struggle.


Sarah Cusack

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