Anxiety is far more than meets the eye - and this woman is here to tell us how.
One in four people will experience a mental health problem every year – but do we really know what it looks like to suffer from a chronic, severe condition? Facebook user Brittany Nichole Morefield doesn’t think so.
In an evocative, honest and raw viral post – now shared more than 420,000 times – Morefield outlines the reality of living with anxiety. And it’s not just the “hard time catching your breath” many believe it to be.
“Anxiety is waking up at 3am from a dead sleep because your heart is racing,” she explains. “Anxiety is breaking out in a rash for no reason. Anxiety is stressing over things that may or my not be real. Anxiety is questioning your faith, how could my creator allow me to feel this way!?”
“Anxiety is calling your sister three hours before she gets up for work, in hopes she’ll answer so you can get your mind off the attack. Anxiety is a 2am shower. Anxiety is your mood changing in a matter of minutes. Anxiety is uncontrollable shaking and twitching. Anxiety is crying, real and painful tears. Anxiety is nausea.”
“Anxiety is crippling,” she continues.”Anxiety is dark. Anxiety is having to make up excuse after excuse for your behavior. Anxiety is fear. Anxiety is worry. Anxiety is physically and emotionally draining. Anxiety is raw. Anxiety is real. Anxiety is a fight with your spouse, even though you’re not mad. Anxiety is snapping at the smallest annoyance. Anxiety is flashbacks. Anxiety is ‘what if’. Anxiety is a lot of ‘what’s wrong’ and ‘I don’t know’”.
Despite this, the post ends on a positive note, with Morefield reminding readers that being bothered by “something others aren’t” doesn’t make you “crazy or worthless”. “Some of the most successful people in life have anxiety,” she says.
And plenty of people agreed with the post.
“Thank you for posting this and raising awareness of anxiety. Nobody can truly understand it until they have been through themselves. But the more we talk about it the more people can become more aware,” one user wrote. “This is exactly me too… very well written and said! You have just perfectly voiced what millions of people also feel every single day… I’m sorry you suffer with this, I’m so grateful you wrote this so wonderfully and I’m also hopeful for you that you manage to overcome this”.
The post has gone viral the same week new research, published in medical journal Lancet Psychiatry, revealed that people with a mental illness still die a decade earlier than those who don’t.
Women diagnosed with a mental illness die, on average, 7.3 years earlier than those without one – and researchers believe that their findings confirm that we should be treating mental illness “holistically”.
“We need to address the life expectancy gap by approaching mental illness more holistically, and consider the person’s whole health profile, including their lifestyle and the support they need,” wrote lead researcher Annette Erlangsen. “The health system can no longer simply prescribe medication and send the patient on their way.”