As public as our lives are on social media these days, the one area we’re failing miserably in is erasing the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
The reality is that too many people suffer in silence, because the thought of exposing the messy, unstitched, unkept and totally uncontrollable illness in our minds, is too much to bear.
Thankfully, there are people like Brittany Nichole Morefield, a makeup artist, wife and mom from Nashville. In the midst of a recent panic attack, the 23-year-old who says she’s suffered from anxiety for as long as she could remember, took to Facebook with a poignant message about realities of living with anxiety.
“Anxiety isn’t just having a hard time catching your breath. Anxiety is waking up at 3 a.m. from a dead sleep because your heart is racing. Anxiety is breaking out in a rash for no reason. Anxiety is stressing over things that may or may not be real. Anxiety is questioning your faith, ‘How could my Creator allow me to feel this way?’ Anxiety is calling your sister three hours before she gets up for work in hopes she’ll answer, so you can get your mind off the attack. Anxiety is a 2 a.m. shower.”
“Anxiety is your mood changing, in a matter of minutes. Anxiety is uncontrollable shaking and twitching. Anxiety is crying real and painful tears. Anxiety is nausea. Anxiety is crippling. Anxiety is dark. Anxiety is having to make up excuse after excuse for your behavior. Anxiety is fear. Anxiety is worry. Anxiety is physically and emotionally draining. Anxiety is raw. Anxiety is real. Anxiety is a fight with your spouse, even though you’re not mad. Anxiety is snapping at the smallest annoyance. Anxiety is flashbacks. Anxiety is ‘What if?’ Anxiety is a lot of, ‘What’s wrong?’ and ‘I don’t know.'”
For years she says even the people closest to her have questioned her mental illness and struggled to wrap their heads around what is actually going on in her head.
“For a long time, even still now, my own family hasn’t understood ‘what’s wrong,'” she tells Independent UK. “I’ve been told it’s all in my head and that I just need to sleep more.”
Brittany hopes every person who reads her post knows that their feelings matter.
“Just because you’re bothered by something others aren’t, it doesn’t make you crazy or worthless. Some of the most successful people in life, have anxiety. This is not your fault. This is not the end. You are strong. You are intelligent. You are brave. You are worthy.”
The response to her post has been overwhelming, as hundreds of thousands of people have praised her for practically taking the words straight out of their mouths, and accurately depicting what anxiety really is.
She encourages others to reach out, saying that she’ll gladly be their “2 a.m. phone call.” If you or someone you know may be struggling with anxiety or another mental illness, please contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741.