Anxiety is a condition that effects around 40 million adults in the United States. For some, it's tied to specific situations that they feel like they can't cope with, while for others it's a completely life-altering illness that has a drastic impact on their daily lives. With the conversation on mental health now in full swing and less taboo than a couple of decades ago, Alyssa Milano has opened up about her struggles with "Generalized Anxiety Disorder" in a moving essay published in Time magazine.
In the revealing article, the Charmed actress details her own personal battle with anxiety, which began as a result of postpartum depression. Two years before giving birth to her first son, Milo, the now 45-year-old suffered a devastating miscarriage. When it came to giving birth to her son, complications led to an emergency C-section, throwing out her carefully prepared birth plan. A day after welcoming their new born, Alyssa experienced her first anxiety attack. "I felt like I had already disappointed my child," she explained. "My heart raced. My stomach seized up. I felt like I was dying".
Her world was further rocked when Milo suffered a febrile seizure following a high fever, causing her to have another attack. Under pressure from upcoming work commitments, Milano had no choice but to return to the grind. Like many working moms, she was plagued with guilt at leaving her child and struggled to find understanding with those around her.
She recounts her daily experiences of feeling like Milo would die with his caretakers, coming home to suffer from nightly crippling attacks. After many daily episodes, the actress voluntarily committed herself to a local psychiatric ward where she stayed for three days. "At last, I began to feel as if my pain was recognized, but it wasn't easy," Milano continued.
Her important message was met with outpourings of support on social media, with Twitter users reaching out to share their own experiences of depression and anxiety. In the final lines of her essay, she invited fans to let her know that she isn't alone. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America report that while 18.1% of the population suffer with anxiety disorders, only 36.9% seek treatment. Essays like Milano's continue to break the stigma attached to mental health issues, encouraging those in need to seek treatment.