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Why This Man Filmed Himself Having a Panic Attack

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Casey Cahill lives with an anxiety disorder. The 27-year-old from Kentucky occasionally has panic attacks and feels like many people misunderstand the severity of his illness. Cahill recently decided to film himself mid-panic attack to put a face to the disorder.

“I just wanted to make this video to show people that it’s real, OK? This is real,” Cahill says in the video below, which he posted to Reddit’s Anxiety subreddit on June 4.

Cahill has lived with anxiety since he was a teenager. “When I was 15, I dialed 911 thinking I was having a heart attack after looking up my symptoms online,” he told The Mighty in an email. “The EMT brought up that it was probably anxiety. Since then, it’s been a huge part of my life.”

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, but the people who live with them still face misunderstanding and stigma. Cahill has had difficulty finding the resources he needs.

“A few weeks ago, I was looking on YouTube for similar videos, hoping I could find something that made me feel like I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t going crazy,” Cahill told The Mighty. “Unfortunately, everything I found seemed pretty ‘mild’ compared to how I felt. So I’m recording myself to help and connect with people who feel like I did a few weeks earlier. You aren’t alone.”

Since the video was posted to Reddit, many people have commented that they strongly relate to how Cahill was feeling when he filmed it.

That’s exactly what I look like and sound like during a panic attack,” one commenter wrote. “Also, it’s nice to know that other men cry, too. I cry a lot during fits of anxiety and depression, and I always feel very ‘weak’ for doing so.”

“I feel like a lot of us… get caught up in anxiety and feel it multiply because we’re afraid to let others see it [and] try and rip us apart,” another Reddit user remarked. “You’re the man. Thank you.”

By being upfront about his illness, Cahill hopes to show others who live with anxiety that it’s OK to do the same.

“Seek help. Don’t be scared, don’t live in pain. People who love you will understand, and you can’t be concerned with the ones who don’t,” Cahill told The Mighty. “We can change [society’s] perception of anxiety.”

See Cahill’s original post and read more comments here.

Related: 31 Secrets of People Who Live With Anxiety

For more resources on anxiety disorders, or for more information about getting help, visit Mental Health America.

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Originally published: June 5, 2015
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