Why one brave man shared his panic attack with the Internet

Anxiety is absolutely terrifying. Physically, it can make your heart race, your chest tighten, your breathing shallow, your entire body shake. But mentally, it’s even worse. It can make you feel like the world is ending. . . that everything is hopelessly terrifying. Panic attacks can grip you without a moment’s notice. The life of an anxiety sufferer can be crippling. . . and unfortunately, it’s incredibly difficult for those without anxiety to truly understand the hell and turmoil it can wreak on your day-to-day life.

However, one brave man is set out to dispel the stigma surrounding mental health. Casey Throwaway took a video of himself coming down from a panic attack and posted it online. The video, aptly titled “Anxiety Sucks,” is so raw and real—and it has been shared over 600,000 times and counting since it was posted two weeks ago.

“I just had a really bad panic attack,” a tearful Casey says in the video. “I have them from time to time. . . I have them more than anybody should. I just wanted to make this video to show that [anxiety is] real.”

Casey then explains the major flaw with the concept of telling someone to just “get over it.” “I’ve always been the type of person who says ‘You gotta man up. You gotta force your way through it,’” he says in the video through tears. “But it would be like telling a blind person to see. . . I can’t do anything about this. . . People without anxiety don’t understand.”

“I just wanted to make this video to show that this is real, OK?” he emphasizes at the end of the video, looking distraught and terrified. “This is real.”

The video is short—just over two minutes long—but it’s incredibly powerful. You can feel Casey’s hurt, pain, and fear emanating through the screen. And the reality is that anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 18% of the population, according to National Institute of Mental Health. Still, there is still a stigma surrounding what people who suffer from anxiety have to deal with every single day.

“I decided to make the video because the last few times I had a panic attack, I wanted to find something I could relate to, but everything felt pretty ‘tame’ compared to how I felt,” Casey told Buzzfeed. “I wanted to see if there were other people who felt like I did, and I took the risk of putting a video of me basically crying on the Internet.”

It was, indeed, a huge risk—but it paid off. Clearly, Casey’s plight resonated with a vast amount of people who have also been battling anxiety for much of their lives. “Thankfully thousands of people from all over seem to find it comforting to know they aren’t alone,” Casey told Buzzfeed, “and I couldn’t be happier about it or more driven to continue to try to end the stigmas around mental health issues.”

The immense feedback from the video has inspired Casey to create a Kickstarter to fund more videos that address issues of anxiety and mental health. From one anxiety sufferer to another, thank you, Casey, for bravely sharing your story and letting thousands of people all over the world know they’re not alone.


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