It seems that more and more people today suffer from anxiety disorders; in fact, 40 million Americans age 18 or older have some sort of anxiety. Among this group of people, 6 million suffer from panic disorder specifically, although this doesn’t mean that others who haven’t been diagnosed don’t have panic attacks.
Panic attacks can happen to anyone at any time, and can feel so severe that the sufferer often mistakes it for a heart attack. Those who don’t have panic attacks can’t relate to what it feels like, and sometimes either make fun of or dismiss the person’s illness as “made up” or “not that big of a deal.” However, this stigma surrounding mental illness needs to end, as this only makes it worse for those suffering, and perpetuates the idea that mental illnesses don’t merit the attention they receive already.
We have found the following images that capture what it feels like to have an anxiety attack, and hope these can shed some more light on the severity of this illness.
These 7 Illustrations Show What It’s Like To Have An Anxiety Attack
You don’t just feel a panic attack in your mind
Those who suffer from panic attacks have physical symptoms that range from sweaty palms to a pounding heart to feeling weak and dizzy to nervous sweating to more severe symptoms such as fainting and becoming disoriented. You can’t figure out where the feelings stem from, all you know is that you feel them all over your body.
Feeling like you’ve just been through a war
After the panic attack, many sufferers feel completely depleted, as though they have just been through a huge battle. And, they have – a battle with their mind and body. Panic attacks leave the person feeling drained, depressed, and lethargic.
When anxiety rapidly transforms into full-blown panic
People become triggered by different things, but oftentimes, going to an unfamiliar, loud place full of people can set off someone’s internal alarms that cause panic attacks. Anxiety already feels uncomfortable enough, but the physical symptoms associated with panic disorders can make the sufferer feel totally out of control and like they need to leave the room immediately.
Panic attacks can often feel like a heart attack
While panic attacks alone cannot harm the body, people usually mistake them for something more serious, like a heart attack or stroke, as panic attacks cause chest pain in most sufferers.
Panic attacks feel like your body and mind have waged war against you
While most panic attacks only persist for ten to twenty minutes, some can last longer. They feel as though you have drowned inside your own body and can’t escape, like your mind and body have turned on you.
Anxiety and panic disorders can take over your whole life
Of course, those with anxiety and panic attacks don’t want them, but it feels as though they can’t escape their grasp. Anxiety feels like a constant nagging voice in your head, a feeling of perpetual dread. Take that a few steps further to a panic attack, and that feels like full-blown paranoia and fear about everything imaginable.
Those who have panic attacks sometimes feel embarrassed
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Panic attacks can come and go whenever they want, which makes this incredibly terrifying for those suffering from them. When one comes along, the person wants to run and hide more than anything else, anything to get away from those who might see. They feel embarrassed because most people grossly misunderstand panic attacks and mental illnesses in general, so those with panic attacks don’t want anyone to ridicule or reject them. They don’t want anyone to see what they often perceive as a weakness in them.