Imagine you're about to start a new job, go out with friends in a large public space or even have to tell a boss that you want a raise. Your heart starts to race and you begin to sweat. You feel pain all over and sometimes you can't even stand. You may cry and might even feel like you're about to die. This may last for several minutes.
What we just described is a panic attack and the 6 million adults in the U.S. living with panic disorders experience them. Though that number is high, there's a stigma associated with mental disorders, in large part because they're "silent" diseases. No one can see what's happening in the brain and, therefore, they're less likely to empathize.
A YouTuber who goes by Casey Throwaway has panic attacked every so often and he was tired of his friends not getting it. So the 27-year-old posted a YouTube video of himself called "Anxiety Sucks" that shows him coming down from an attack to show people how real his disorder is.
"Im tired of people telling me to get over it. People with anxiety can't just get over it," he wrote in the video's description.
He has tears streaming down his face and he's breathing heavily. He recently started a new job and he was triggered that maybe his new co-workers would judge him.
'I've always been the type of person that says, 'You got to man up,' ' he says. 'But I can't do anything about this.'
'My brain is on fire right now. I feel like I'm going to pass out.'
'I just wanted to make this video to show that this is real,' he says into the camera. 'This is real.'
Even tough he was expecting a bad reaction from YouTube commenters, he was pleasantly surprised. It has gotten more than 400,000 views a little over a week since he first uploaded it and people have shared their own experiences with anxiety disorders, which further helps break the stigma against them.
Inspired by the success, Throwaway set up a Kickstarter crowdsourcing campaign to begin a YouTube channel dedicated entirely to mental health awareness.
"All I want to do is get a new camera and editing software to keep making the videos people want," he wrote.
So far, he has raised $338 of his $500 goal.
Thanks, Casey Throwaway, for helping more people understand anxiety and panic disorders.