This Student Took Chilling Photos To Show What Anxiety Feels Like

A picture is worth ~1,000~ words.

1. Meet Katie Joy Crawford, a 23-year-old photography student based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

For her senior thesis, Crawford decided to make a photo series that would capture her experiences with depression and anxiety. The series — which is called My Anxious Heart — is composed of 12 evocative self-portraits and personal captions that convey the crippling effects of mental illness. Crawford spent about three hours on each shot, using a camera remote to snap the image.

“It quickly became a cathartic experience for me that has led to such healing and self-discovery,” Crawford told BuzzFeed. “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.”

Here are a few photos and captions from her remarkable series…

2. On feeling like you’re suffocating:

“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.”

3. On being stuck in your own head:

“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.”

4. On feeling stuck in your life:

“I’m afraid to live and I’m afraid to die. What a way to exist.”

5. On feeling paralyzed to act:

“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.”

6. On the draining oscillation 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.”

7. On feeling trapped:

“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.”

8. On feeling so weighed down by your brain:

“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.”

9. On having anxiety around sleeping:

“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.”

10. To view the entire series, go here.

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