#ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike Shows Debilitating Reality Of Mental Illness

Approximately 12 per cent of Canadians are affected by anxiety disorders. The mental illness can take various forms, from phobias to panic disorders to agoraphobia to obsessive-compulsive disorder and more, according to Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada.

Anxiety can affect anyone at any age and can be brought on by traumatic events and stress. For those affected by the condition, anxiety can be debilitating, overwhelming, heartbreaking, and can have a serious impact on the way a person goes about their life.

That’s exactly what Sarah Fader, founder of the mental health nonprofit Stigma Fighters, wants you to realize. In early February Fader, 37, tweeted at her followers asking them to share their anxiety stories using #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike.

Two months later, the hashtag is still going strong.

Though the message is widespread, anxiety is still misunderstood, as responses show that some still mistake it for a general state of worry. True anxiety can last for long periods of time and cause serious distress.

Fortunately, anxiety can be treated through counselling, medication and even self-help techniques. If a loved one is suffering from anxiety, The Canadian Mental Health Association suggests supporting them by learning about the illness and helping patients practice new skills. In some cases, families may even want to seek family counselling to help.