The stigma around mental health and associated conditions is such that we refrain from talking about them, let alone understanding the difference between various conditions.
Like anxiety attacks and panic attacks. While both of them are distressing and overwhelming, we make the mistake of using the terms interchangeably.
Moreover, movies in general have romanticised the entire idea of helping a person having panic attacks.
A Twitter user rightly pointed this out recently.
i hate when movies romanticize anxiety/panic attacks. for example, the main character is having a “panic attack“ and she’s sitting on the floor and her crush notices her, touches her hand and looks her in the eyes and she’s suddenly okay. well, let me tell you something— cathᴱᴸᴾ (@smthgreatlou) July 28, 2020
She then talked about what her panic attacks feel and look like. And they are nothing like what they show in movies.
usually, when i feel a panic attack coming, my chest starts to feel tight. then my body starts to shake. when the panic attack full on hits, i can’t breathe so i’m hyperventilating. i can’t feel my hands and legs cause they just go numb. my vision becomes a bit blury and i can’t— cathᴱᴸᴾ (@smthgreatlou) July 28, 2020
focus on anything. like literally. sometimes i even throw up. and no one can help me. it’s not a romantic kinda “save me” thing. it’s horrible. many people suffer from them. i hate it.— cathᴱᴸᴾ (@smthgreatlou) July 28, 2020
Her experience soon went viral on Twitter and netizens shared their own experiences of panic attack.
bruh if my crush tried to touch me during a panic attack id probably throw up on him I do NOT want to know I am being perceived https://t.co/Us7jIZCd0i— dav (@enteryeratte) July 30, 2020
Please read this, it’s not cute it’s not fucking fun it’s honestly terrifying. Stop romanticizing anxiety and depression https://t.co/pHlHMMEQnm— TaT0P0TaT0 (@TaT0P0TaT01) July 30, 2020
Yeah panic attacks are not cute... once I literally tried to Spider-Man climb the walls https://t.co/QzpxQVagmJ— thoughts of an insomniac (@wouldimarrythem) July 30, 2020
if someone touches me when i'm having a panic attack 9 times outta 10 it just makes my anxiety even worse lmao i hate fake movie anxiety sm https://t.co/xIYkzN4rQy— abbo🌵 (@desertw0lf) July 30, 2020
My first panic attack my sister joked about to all my friends about how I "looked like I was possessed" and I had to watch my friends laugh at my breakdown without even understanding what I was going through bruh idk where hollywood gets the idea that this shit cute https://t.co/kdnoQt0zuV— missing my waif hours (@ASoftBeagle) July 29, 2020
I used to get made fun of because of my panic attacks, also telling me to relax and get over it won’t help either 😳🤪✨ https://t.co/y8d6nldLB4— samara (@samaraamtz) July 29, 2020
I go temporarily blind, barfing my guts out for hours until my face swells up from broken blood vessels, followed by my arms and part of my face going numb...— Aelish Wright (@eyelashwrite) July 30, 2020
Very romantic 🙄 https://t.co/1oZCYxvjX8
If someone touches me while I’m having a panic attack I will literally stop breathing completely or throw hands. https://t.co/C4KZFJc0eP— Genesis Castillo (@juicypineappple) July 30, 2020
if someone touches me when im having an anxiety attack i might actually barf 😕 i need reassurance and SPACE lots of space https://t.co/h9uKnCVPBE— kylo’s eyeliner (@dyadsuniverse) July 30, 2020
All of a sudden we have started assuming that depression, anxiety and mental illnesses in general are 'cool'. And we can help the person as shown in movies.
Panic attacks are common and real, too. It's high time we start giving importance to mental health issues. And the only way out is talking about them.
If you or someone you know suffers from mental health issues, you should reach out to experts for professional help.
Remember that help is just a phone call away. Reach out to the following helplines in India. BMC mental health helpline: 022-24131212 (available 24X7), Vandrevala Foundation: 186-02662345/180-02333330 (24x7) or AASRA: 91-9820466726 (available 24X7).