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What Kim Kardashian Filming Her Panic Attack Meant to Me

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The Kardashian family gets a lot of negativity for their television show, which focuses on what many contend is a superficial, extremely dramatized and privileged lifestyle. I myself don’t keep up with all of the media coverage surrounding the Kardashian family, and I don’t feel particularly strongly either way towards them. Over the weekend, though, I saw a headline on BuzzFeed that read: “Kim Kardashian Allowed Cameras To Film Her Having a Panic Attack In the Wake of Her Paris Robbery.” Like it or not, the Kardashian family has a big role in determining how mainstream society views certain issues and commodities. So, I clicked. I wanted to see how the Kardashian name was about to influence the mental health community and beyond. I wanted to see the messages we were sending. As it turns out, I was really surprised.

There are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding anxiety and panic attacks. I opened the article expecting, in large part, to see those represented in the video. I didn’t. Instead, I saw a little bit of myself. Now, I only watched part of the video, because it was hard for me to watch. It must be hard for anyone to watch. In the minute I saw, Kim calls her friend and cries into the phone as he reassures her that the house is safe. “Are you sure?” she asks. “Do you promise?” she pleads. She isn’t hysterical. She isn’t curled into a ball on the floor, incapable of everything. She isn’t beyond reason, and she isn’t dangerous. Instead, she’s pretty normal. She looks like she could wipe away those tears, take a deep breath, open the door, have a conversation and get right back to the anxiety in 10 minutes. She isn’t what our stereotypes tell us distraught anxious people have to be. Instead, she’s me. She’s you. She even says the place is “amazing” and that she’s “good,” that she “just has anxiety.” This is such a common experience and she’s finally put a face to it, finally given it the attention it needs. She just told people everywhere that anxiety can look like this too and that there’s help.

I didn’t see a spoiled rich girl. I saw Kim, a woman who went through something terrible and who is scared and struggling. I saw someone having overwhelming anxiety, the kind that makes it hard to breathe and makes your hands shake and your mind spin out of control. I saw Kim, a girl who has anxiety and is doing her very best to not let it define her and to fight it. With every question, she fights it. With every deep breath, she fights it. With every passing moment, she gets stronger.

It’s time we stop tearing Kim down, at least in moments like these. We are a community and we need to act like it. So, Kim, from one anxious girl to another: thank you for letting us in, and please know we’re here for you.

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Screenshot via E! Entertainment YouTube channel

Originally published: October 9, 2017
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