What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by Aracely Worley.

I suffer from anxiety and panic disorder and I want you to know it really sucks. It’s a daily battle to try to keep it together. I want you to know that I’ve tried it all… therapy, meds, and unfortunately for me, although it’s become a little more manageable, it’s still very much there. I worry about everything. I wish I wouldn’t, because I know it’s wasted energy, but I can’t stop. I also know I have missed out on many opportunities because of it.

My mom says I was born worrying. I worried throughout my childhood, teens, early adulthood and then bam… my 30’s hit, and the panic started.

At first glance you wouldn’t know I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve been happily married for almost 15 years, I have two beautiful children, I blog in my spare time, and I’m currently in grad school, and very close to graduating with my Masters degree in Special Education. Only a few close friends and family members know about my anxiety and panic attacks 

I think my first bout with a panic attack started when I became a mom. I remember my first attack. It felt like a bonefide heart attack. My chest started hurting, my breathing started to become very shallow, and I soon found myself in the Emergency Room. It honestly felt like I was going to die. While I have battled anxiety most of my life, panic attacks are a different monster. They come on suddenly and they are terrifying. I’m still trying to figure out what feelings trigger it. They seem to come out of the blue, and the fear of panicking in public, brings on more panic. It’s kind of a vicious cycle. 

Anxiety and Panic Disorder are very real and I think there are many of us suffering in silence. I wish those of us that experience anxiety and panic attacks, would be more open about it and share more about our experiences with others. I also hope that those around us would be understanding and would listen without judging. I am thankful for good friends that know exactly how to calm me down, and ease my fears. I want you to know that I wish I could snap my fingers and make it go away, but I can’t. I also want you to know that if you want to help someone in your life that is dealing with anxiety and panic disorder, grab a chair and listen. I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for friends that listen and don’t judge. They’ve done more for me, than years of meds have ever done.