One of the greatest hurdles for someone suffering mental illness is trying to reach out those around them for help.
Being alone in your suffering is almost worse than the suffering itself – yet, trying to explain how you feel, and why you feel that way, can be an impossible task.
According to Beyond Blue, anxiety in its many shapes and forms affects around two million Australians every year. And for every person living with anxiety is a network of friends, family, lovers, and partners who are trying to understand so that they can help.
But thanks to a clever hashtag on Twitter, we might be one step closer to conveying how anxiety works.
Back in February, writer and marketing director Sarah Fader discussed her experience of anxiety on Twitter. As a columnist with Psychology Today online, she decided to open the floor to her readers to compare and contrast the ‘symptoms’ of anxiety.
“I wrote a tweet one day about how I was anxious when people take a long time to respond to my text messages,” wrote Fader in her column.
“I decided to hashtag it with #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike. Then I thought, I cannot be the only person who feels this way. There are so many of us who have anxious minds. I opened up the conversation and invited people to participate in it.”
There have been thousands of responses so far, ranging from the lighthearted (“Me: 'What could go wrong?' Anxiety: 'I'm glad you asked...'") to the more serious, where people describe in heartbreaking detail just how dramatic the impact of anxiety is on their life.
Many of the responses to Fader’s callout via the #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike hashtag have give insight in the physical reactions that anxiety can cause.