Reading the accounts, you quickly learn the disorder takes many different forms
Sarah Fader is 37 years old and suffers from chronic anxiety. Knowing she wasn’t alone, but that many people suffering were hesitant to publicize their struggle, she started Stigma Fighters, a nonprofit dedicated to the open discussion and fight against mental illness.
The first panic attack started at just 15, and Sarah continues to suffer from them as an adult mother of two. As exhausted as she was by the anxiety itself, she was also frustrated by people’s refusal to discuss the prevalence of chronic anxiety, be it due to manners, shame, or just an uncertainty of what to say.
So she created the hashtag #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike so others could share their personal experiences and struggles, knowing they’re not alone in their fight.
Please join me using #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike hashtag with your anxious stories of being anxious.— (((Sarah Fader))) (@(((Sarah Fader))))1486841733.0
It didn’t take long for people to take her up on her offer.
This is my life #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike #TuesdayThoughts #anxietyproblems #TalkMH #Mentalhealth… https://t.co/TOpdFsAZpY— Joy Pearson (@Joy Pearson)1490123112.0
Me: "What could go wrong?" Anxiety: "I'm glad you asked..." #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike #livingwithanxiety #anxiety— Kelsey Rozak (@Kelsey Rozak)1489990073.0
When you hold your breath under water and struggle to reach the surface. Burning lungs and desperation. #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike— Ryan Ritchie (@Ryan Ritchie)1489949204.0
Sarah discussed how something as simple as a hashtag could help her in a piece for The Huffington Post, stating, “ It was inspiring to know that I am not alone in the way that anxiety overwhelms me. Anxiety affects people in a variety of different ways. It was refreshing to read about people’s experiences with anxiety.”
A mended heart is impossible, it seems. Anger, fear, & paranoia is reality, when your heart has been shredded. #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike— Dustin Nuttall (@Dustin Nuttall)1489891491.0
I have had so many things to do and they keep piling up and I don't know how to do ANYthing without failing #thisiswhatanxietyfeelslike— Feminem (@Feminem)1489865390.0
The ideas, feelings, and emotions shared under the hashtag are hardly pleasant. But learning of the hardships others face helps foster a sense of community, reliance, and, above all, hope. Everyone sharing their experiences with anxiety are getting through life, difficult as it may be.
The response has been such that Sarah’s created a new account just for people to share, which she also shared via The Huffington Post, writing, “I’m overwhelmed (pun intended) by the support for #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike. I even created a separate Twitter account for it @AnxietyHashtag. Thank you to everyone who participated in this viral anxious movement. I love you all.”