It’s a story many of us know so well. Piling untold amount of pressure on ourselves to achieve, to maintain a healthy social life, hold down a partner and exercise control over our reactions to our emotions. Only to be struck down with crippling anxiety that makes it hard to cope with any of those things.
One girl, who is part of the incredible Humans Of New York Colombia series, has opened up about her experience in a candid post about mental health.
“I was the best student in my high school. I put so much pressure on myself,” she said. “I never failed a class. But I got sick during 10th grade and I started to fall behind. That’s when the panic attacks began.”
“One day the teacher handed me my grade report, and I couldn’t breathe. My heart was beating very fast. I felt disconnected. I saw people trying to talk to me but I couldn’t hear them. Eventually I passed out and woke up in the infirmary,” she recalled, describing what a panic attack really feels like.
Unfortunately, those attacks only got more intense, occurring on an almost daily basis. They are yet to cease.
“Last year I started college. And I can’t be the best student here no matter how hard I try. Everyone is so talented. My panic attacks got so bad that I had to cancel my first semester.
“I used to try to hide it. I would log off social media. I wouldn’t answer calls. I thought that if nobody knew, it didn’t exist,” she continued. “But the more I talk about my problem, the more I realise that other people experience similar things. So I’m trying to express it more. I had a great teacher who told me: ‘Instead of letting anxiety keep you from doing your art, let it be the thing that motivates your art.’”
The NHS describes anxiety as “a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.” While everyone will experience feelings like this from time to time, people who suffer from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), like this girl, find it difficult to get rid of this feeling, and it severely affects their lives.
Those worried that they might be suffering from these symptoms should visit their GP for a proper diagnosis and treatment, as well as sharing their fears with a close friend or family member.