Anxiety stories
from our community

Read these featured anxiety stories from our community then contribute your own to help build a better picture and understanding of anxiety.

Photo used with permission by member Kay Nutt, see the story here.

Understanding and
overcoming anxiety

 

Everyone experiences these issues differently as there’s such a large spectrum of causes and severity when struggling with anxiety. That’s why we believe in the power of stories and using therapeutic photography to help people open up and break the silence as a way to better understand these mental health issues for ourselves and everyone else.

 

Community insights on anxiety

Under Water

We see a common theme in stories using being under water as a visual cue and metaphor for anxiety and the symptoms.

Blurred Movement

Blurred movements are a recurring way that people express thoughts and feelings around anxiety, including themes of overwhelm and confusion.

Calm in Nature

Many photos showcase landscapes and glimpses into Nature, as studies show there may be a connection to time in nature and improved mental health.

Woman's face underwater with bubbles from her breathing blurry and obscuring her face to represent anxiety

An example of using the visual metaphor of being underwater as a way to
represent the experience or symptoms of anxiety, by member Kay Nutt. See the story.

Anxiety Symptoms

 

We all experience some level of anxiety in our lives, sometimes only through being nervous or worried. This can help warn us about danger or motivate us to take action. When these feelings become uncontrolled, unhelpful or start to seriously impact our life through how we act, think and feel — then it is considered to be an anxiety disorder.   There are many types of anxiety disorders, but common signs and symptoms include:

  • feelings of excessive fear, panic, and uneasiness
  • trouble concentrating
  • feeling tense and jumpy
  • anticipating the worst
  • difficulty managing daily tasks and/or distress
  • apprehensive and tense feelings
  • avoidance of feared situations
  • cold or sweaty hands or feet
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • not being able to be still and calm
  • insomnia or problems sleeping
  • dry mouth
  • shortness of breath
  • heart palpitations
  • muscle tension
  • nausea
  • stomach upset or dizziness
  • frequent urination or diarrhea
  • tremors and twitches
  • headaches
  • fatigue

People affected by anxiety disorders may have intense episodes that are short-lived or may feel anxious most of the time. Anxiety can be so intense that people avoid daily routines or activities that seem to cause it and attacks can leave them terrified or immobilized.    The physical symptoms of anxiety (ex. heart palpitations) are so frightening during an anxiety attack that they may be mistaken for symptoms of a heart attack.

 

The link between anxiety and depression

Depression and anxiety are often interlinked since they are believed to originate from the same biological vulnerability. Many people who are affected by anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some time in their lives. Since the symptoms of each only seem to make the other worse, it’s important to try to get help for both — rather than trying to overcome only one.

 

Factors that affect when to see a mental health professional for anxiety: 

  • context in which the anxiety occurs
  • amount of distress caused by symptoms
  • extent that it affects their ability to manage daily life
Close up of woman's body with blurred movement in a black and white film photo

Anxiety stories from member Do Raniszewska, representing her anxiety
in a photograph with blurred movement. See the story.

Stories about anxiety we’re requesting

 

Anxiety StoriesPriorityStatus
Stories of overcoming anxietyHighOpen
Anxiety attacksHighOpen
Anxiety disorder diagnosisHighOpen
What does anxiety look likeHighOpen
What does anxiety feel likeHighOpen
What does anxiety do to the bodyHighOpen
How does anxiety feelHighOpen
How does anxiety developHighOpen
Typical anxiety thoughtsHighOpen
Dealing with anxietyHighOpen
Dealing with anxiety in childrenHighOpen
Dealing with anxiety at workHighOpen
Dealing with anxiety during examsHighOpen
Dealing with anxiety attacksHighOpen
How to deal with anxietyHighOpen
How to get rid of anxietyHighOpen
How to talk about anxietyHighOpen
Understanding someone with anxietyHighOpen
What causes anxietyHighOpen
Photo of soft purple and blue sunset with silhouette of cliff and single tree in foreground

Anxiety stories from member Peter Enberg, sharing how being out in Nature
and taking photos can help to calm and help your mental healthy. See the story.

How photography can help with anxiety

 

  1. The act of taking photos can be a form of mindfulness, and shares many of the same practices or principles, which can help to calm and focus the mind
    .
  2. Anxiety, especially in its more extreme forms, can be overwhelming — which makes it hard to put into words what it feels like, especially for someone who has never experienced it before. Using non-verbal communication through photos allows people to expand their vocabulary to convey what they are going through. In the example above, we have blurred movement, which is a common theme we see from members to help convey anxiety.
    .
  3. More and more studies are showing the benefits of being out in Nature to help relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. For many people, photography provides more of a motivation to get outside in Nature on a regular basis and explore new areas.

 

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