health

Casey Cahill filmed himself during a panic attack to prove anxiety disorders are real - and serious.

Image: YouTube.

In Australia, anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness.

According to ABS data, these disorders — which include panic disorder and agoraphobia — are affecting roughly 14 per cent of the population aged between 16 and 85. There’s a very good chance someone you love is affected.

RELATED: This is what it actually feels like to have a panic attack.

Despite being so commonplace, anxiety remains shrouded in stigma and a general lack of understanding.

14 per cent of Australians experience anxiety disorders - and they don't always look like this.

For people who haven't experienced it first-hand, it's hard to comprehend just how serious and debilitating the symptoms can be; from the outside it's all too easy to dismiss a panic attack as something that can be merely 'snapped out' of.

RELATED: What to do when someone is having a panic attack.

In an effort to raise understanding and awareness of anxiety disorders, Kentucky man Casey Cahill took a brave step: he filmed himself in the midst of a panic attack, and shared the footage on Reddit and Youtube.

The 27-year-old is visibly distressed in the clip — tears stream from his eyes, he's clearly shaking, and his voice trembles as he describes the sensations ravaging his mind and body. (Post continues after video.)

"My brain is on fire right now. I feel like I'm going to pass out, my emotions are crazy, obviously. I'm having crazy thoughts in my head," Cahill says.

"I've always been the type of person that says 'you've gotta man up, you've gotta force your way through it' but that'd be like telling a blind person to see. Just through willpower I can't do anything about this."

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RELATED: Why Amanda Seyfried decided to finally seek help for her anxiety disorder.

Cahill experiences panic attacks "from time to time", and he explained to The Mighty that anxiety has been "a huge part" of his life since he was just 15. "I dialled 911 thinking I was having a heart attack after looking up my symptoms online,” he told the website.

“A few weeks ago, I was looking on YouTube for similar videos, hoping I could find something that made me feel like I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t going crazy. Unfortunately, everything I found seemed pretty ‘mild’ compared to how I felt." (Post continues after gallery.)

This spurred Cahill to share his own experience. In the video, he explains starting a new full-time job had brought his anxiety back to the surface, because he was worried his new peers would judge him.

"I just wanted to make this video to show to myself that this is what it's like when you don't try to help yourself. When you think you can do it on your own," Cahill says.

Happily, the video has been met with messages of support from fellow sufferers, who have shared their own stories. It carries an important message for anybody living with anxiety disorders: you are not alone.

If you, or someone you love, is suffering from anxiety disorders, there are a number of services in Australia which provide information and support that can help: