“You know that feeling of your heart skipping a beat when you’ve missed the last step on the staircase in the dark? It can feel like that all the time.”
“It’s a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. And then when I have attacks I have basically no control over my emotions. I usually can’t breathe and can’t stop crying.”
“It’s a tight feeling in your chest where you have an overwhelming sense of doom.”
These were the responses I received when I asked colleagues and friends what it feels like to experience severe anxiety.
There were many more responses, all equally as confronting. Many shared that they were on medication for their difficulties – and some said they’d probably be on medication for the rest of their lives. Some seek help from a psychologist, and some use exercise to cope.
But while many of us have problems with anxiety, and crave support from our loved ones and communities, recent research has found that there is still a huge stigma around anxiety among Australians.
Our Creative Director Mia Freedman has spoken openly about her problems with anxiety.
It's estimated that up to two million Australians suffer from anxiety, making it our most common mental health disorder. Yet research released by Beyondblue on Monday has revealed one in five Australians think people with anxiety are 'putting it on'.
The same research found that over 10 per cent of us aged 30 to 34 think people with anxiety are untrustworthy.