One in ten Brits have experienced anxiety or had a panic attack in the last week.
One such woman from Bogotá, Colombia has shared her story with Humans Of New York photographer, Brandon Stanton.
The young woman told Brandon about her history of panic attacks, which started in high school, triggered by an illness and the pressures of formal education.
I was the best student in my high school. I put so much pressure on myself. I never failed a class. But I got sick during 10th grade and I started to fall behind.
That’s when the panic attacks began. One day the teacher handed me my grade report, and I couldn’t breathe.
Recalling the trauma, she continued:
My heart was beating very fast. I felt disconnected. I saw people trying to talk to me but I couldn’t hear them.
Eventually I passed out and woke up in the infirmary. The attacks were almost daily after that.
She has come a long way since then and started college last year. However the pressures continued. She explained: “I can’t be the best student here no matter how hard I try. Everyone is so talented. My panic attacks got so bad that I had to cancel my first semester.”
She said she’s now working on acknowledging her anxiety, adding:
I used to try to hide it. I would log off social media. I wouldn’t answer calls. I thought that if nobody knew, it didn’t exist.
But the more I talk about my problem, the more I realize that other people experience similar things. So I’m trying to express it more.
A college tutor once told her, ‘Instead of letting anxiety keep you from doing your art, let it be the thing that motivates your art.’
If you’re suffering with anxiety – or know someone who needs help – you can anonymously get in touch with mental health charity, Mind.