'It feels like I'm about to die': Anxiety sufferers explain how it affects them

  • 27/03/2018

While for some anxiety conjures up imaginings of mild worry, those who are afflicted by the mental illness say it feels like much more than that.

Sufferers opened up to Three's The Project about how it feels when they're overwhelmed with panic, and the way it affects their everyday lives.

"It feels like I'm about to die and I'm not exaggerating when I say that. My heart is going a million miles an hour," said Bolivia Newton, who suffers from a fear of germs.

"It's that dropping feeling in your gut - like you're going on a rollercoaster, but continually throughout the day," said Jenna Goldsworthy, who suffers from panic attacks.

"Breathing becomes very shallow and rapid and my muscles tense up," said social anxiety suffer Johnny. "There is an overwhelming desire to flee and get to a safe area."

While the feeling of the initial panic attack may seem unpleasant, the way it places constraints on a person's life and affects those close to them can add to the challenges.

"I think those closest to me cop it the most - my husband and my kids," said panic attack sufferer Catherine Sylvester.

"It sort of chips away at your excitement and your happiness about life and your life should be sort of fun and spontaneous," said Jenna Wiggill, who has social anxiety.

But getting through anxiety isn't easy as it seems. Those who struggle with it say it's not something a person can simply decide to 'get over'.

"No-one can make the feeling go away, it's just there and there's no sort of manning up or anything that you can do to make that feeling go away," said Joseph Chittock, who has panic attacks.

"The only thing that makes it sort of bearable, you be able to deal with it is just accepting that it's [sort of] there really."

As part of The Project's anxiety week, the show will be continuing to look at stories of those who have suffer from it.

If you have a story to share, you can go to The Project's Facebook page or use the hash tag #myanxiety.