MUST READ: ‘Hit by freezing water’: People describe exactly what their mental illness feels like

‘When I have a bad anxiety attack it feels like I’m drowning’

Kashmira Gander@kashmiragander


This article has been re-shared from it’s original source,


Every week, an estimated one in six people will have experienced a common mental illness, and one in four of us will have to deal with some kind of mental ill-health at some point in our lives.

Yet stigma still surrounds conditions including depression and anxiety, which are the most common in the UK, to bi-polar and anorexia. And just like with any condition – physical or mental – it is impossible to grasp exactly what a person is experiencing.

In attempt to melt away confusion and shame surrounding mental illness, we asked people to describe what their condition feels like in a way that someone who hasn’t experienced it might be able to relate to. While their descriptions were all unique, they all shared one thing: encouraging others to seek help and an eagerness to raise awareness that no one should be alone when struggling with their mental health.

“A major panic attack feels like you’re in immediate danger of dying. Sometimes it feels like you’ve been hit with a bucket of freezing water. Heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath. It’s honestly terrifying and that only continues the vicious cycle of panic.

“The worst is when they seem to come on for no reason and you don’t even realise that what’s happening is anxiety. I get anxious on public transport or in crowds of people and it feels very realistically like I can’t breathe. It can be worse at the weekend when everyone on the train is chatting more because it feels like they’re voices are right inside my head, like an itch I can’t scratch.”