I’m not sure how long I’ve been having anxiety attacks — moments where I feel like I can’t breathe and, when they get bad, make me feel disconnected from everything around me — but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s been since I was 14. Everyone told me the symptoms were “in my head,” but I didn’t know to call it anxiety until last year, at 23.
Even as I’ve grown more comfortable with naming my anxiety attacks, I still do it quietly, with a text to a friend who understands or safely after I’ve started to feel better and I can share something I “learned” about them.
But then I found #TalkingAboutIt, which made me think that maybe real-time sharing about mental health issues is important.
The hashtag was started by Sammy Nickalls, who told me: “I saw a friend tweeting about her cold. It was a sort of joking-complaining tweet about how she’s laid in bed all day, and that’s all she’s planning on doing.” She wondered: Why couldn’t we do that with mental health?