Sadly, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems facing the US, affecting 40 million people over 18 years of age.
To make things worse, only a third of the adults affected seek treatment, which means that most of them haven’t gotten any help at all.
Although it’s hard to tell on the outside whether someone has anxiety issues, it pains them immensely on the inside. And many try to hide their pain so that others do not point fingers at them. Anxiety affects us in different ways, but for people who are consumed by it, it can completely shatter their lives.
Photography student Katie Joy Crawford, 23, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, – who has her own history of suffering from anxiety and depression – made this special collection of photos illustrating what a mental disorder truly feels like.
It is a project she made for her senior thesis, using a camera remote to create each picture.
“I want those that suffer to feel like they have a voice and a hand to hold. I never want anyone to feel alone, as anxiety and depression can be isolating on its own.”
The exhibition is called My Anxious Heart and Crawford spent about three hours on each image.
Check them out below 🙂
Feeling trapped in life
“I’m afraid to live and I’m afraid to die. What a way to exist.”
Feeling like you can’t escape your own mind
“A captive of my own mind. The instigator of my own thoughts. The more I think, the worse it gets. The less I think, the worse it gets. Breathe. Just breathe. Drift. It’ll ease soon.”
Feeling like you can’t breathe
“They keep telling me to breathe. I can feel my chest moving up and down. Up and down. Up and down. But why does it feel like I’m suffocating? I hold my hand under my nose, making sure there is air. I still can’t breathe.”
Feeling like you’re drowning in your thoughts
“It’s strange — in the pit of your stomach. It’s like when you’re swimming and you want to put your feet down but the water is deeper than you thought. You can’t touch the bottom and your heart skips a beat.”
The constant battle between depression and anxiety
“Depression is when you can’t feel at all. Anxiety is when you feel too much. Having both is a constant war within your own mind. Having both means never winning.”
Feeling like your mind is a prison
“You were created for me and by me. You were created for my seclusion. You were created by venomous defense. You are made of fear and lies. Fear of unrequited promises and losing trust so seldom given. You’ve been forming my entire life. Stronger and stronger.”
Feeling burdened by the monsters in your head
“A glass of water isn’t heavy. It’s almost mindless when you have to pick one up. But what if you couldn’t empty it or set it down? What if you had to support its weight for days… months… years? The weight doesn’t change, but the burden does. At a certain point, you can’t remember how light it used to seem. Sometimes it takes everything in you to pretend it isn’t there. And sometimes, you just have to let it fall.”
Sleep seems like a distant memory
“I was scared of sleeping. I felt the most raw panic in complete darkness. Actually, complete darkness wasn’t scary. It was that little bit of light that would cast a shadow — a terrifying shadow.”
If you wish to see the rest of these beautiful images, please check out Katie’s original blog post.
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