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#ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike shows debilitating reality of anxiety disorders

“The cold hand that grabs you in the middle of the night.”

“Feeling like a caged animal is inside your chest trying to claw its way out.”

“..that jittery feeling when you drink WAY too much coffee.”

This is what anxiety feels like, according to hundreds of people who have responded to a Twitter hashtag started by Sarah Fader, 37, of Brooklyn.

Fader, founder and CEO of the health non-profit
Photo Credit: @TheSarahFader via Twitter

Fader, founder and CEO of the health non-profit Stigma Fighters, said she created the #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike hashtag to vent about her own anxiety. Wanting to reach out to the Stigma Fighters community, she used the hashtag as a way to both reach out and to help herself feel less alone.

The response was overwhelming. #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike has received a steady stream of responses since Fader first tweeted a prompt in February.

"Ironically, I was anxious when I saw the responses to the hashtag," said Fader. "I am thrilled that people resonated with it. It makes me happy to destigmatize mental illness."

The responses show how a brief conversation can
Photo Credit: @TheSarahFader via Twitter

The responses show how a brief conversation can require countless rehearsals, how the thought of going out can lead to debilitating panic or how easy it is to second-guess lifelong friendships.

"We are not dramatic; we are humans," she said.

Photo Credit: @TheSarahFader

"Anxiety is not who you are. It is a conglomeration of symptoms that impact you," said Fader, who hopes those with the illness will "feel less isolated and like they matter."

While many with anxiety have found solace in sharing their experiences, Fader said there are important lessons to learn for those who do not live with the illness.

"Listen, learn and be empathetic to anxious people."

Here are some of the responses Fader has received so far.

Photo Credit: @JM_Finn via Twitter

Photo Credit: @AnitaRezz via Twitter

Photo Credit: @_theheadcabbage via Twitter

Photo Credit: @NothingHarley via Twitter

Photo Credit: @adoraluna via Twitter

Photo Credit: @helloitskr via Twitter

Photo Credit: @techbaron13 via Twitter

Photo Credit: @TheRealSarahMC via Twitter

Photo Credit: @paradichotomy via Twitter

Photo Credit: @5Selliana via Twitter

Photo Credit: @BekaLombardo via Twitter

Photo Credit: @Mandzzxo via Twitter

Photo Credit: @kaaydenn17 via Twitter

Photo Credit: @NoMoreGremlins via Twitter

Photo Credit: @LizLazzara via Twitter

Photo Credit: @bachbunny via Twitter

Photo Credit: @khassss_ via Twitter

Photo Credit: @xGirlyArtistx via Twitter

Photo Credit: @SemicolonTravel via Twitter

Photo Credit: @alex_bradstreet via Twitter

Photo Credit: @cathexisqueen via Twitter

Photo Credit: @seetheskylight via Twitter

Photo Credit: @DFandtpartywolf via Twitter

Photo Credit: @tweets4day via Twitter

Photo Credit: @kaitie_in_red via Twitter

Photo Credit: @evieashlee via Twitter

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