In February I was walking on my college campus when, suddenly, I was engulfed by fear and ineffable thoughts of doom. My body became drenched in sweat, my thoughts were racing and my heart was pounding out of my chest. When I finally made it to class, I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to learn. I didn’t want to socialize with my friends. I wanted to die.

This episode led to my diagnosis as a victim of a panic disorder. Since then, I take a daily medication that allows me to fully function and feel like myself – a happy, driven young adult.

Without this medication, I can barely leave my bed. With it, I’m not forced to think about my disorder or let it define me.

But that will all change if Republicans pass their new “health care” bill. Under this bill, I am reduced to someone with a pre-existing condition and nothing more. Under this bill, I will be punished for something I can’t control.

If Republicans pass this bill, 22 million people will lose their health insurance. That means that millions of people will be unable to afford the daily medication that allows them to function as a normal human being.

Senate Republicans postponed the vote on this bill, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. I urge everyone to keep speaking out because together we can ensure that people like me can continue living their lives without any illness defining them.

Ashley Lokken