Updated: Sep 12, 2021
In 2020, I had lots of thoughts, and one of them was about anxiety. I do get anxious and I wanted to create a still life project which could showcase not just my anxiety but also showcase other people's anxiety. After doing some research, I understood that everyone experiences anxiety in various ways, and to deeply understand people's various experiences with anxiety, I decided to ask some people how they feel when they are anxious. Some of them feel breathless which can lead them to hyperventilate sometimes, they also feel bloated or they keep moving around, but some of them also start sweating a lot, they start daydreaming and they can't move.
I want to share some of the things people told me about their anxiety:
Person A: " I do also have social anxiety which makes me feel like I'm being pierced by a thousand tiny needles made of ice. My chest feels tight and I struggle to breathe it feels like I'm drowning in an ice lake. "
Person B: " My head begins turning into a mental fog where my thoughts are bouncing on each other, a combination of traumas and past events which collide. My brain takes control of my body and makes me say or do things to protect myself from doing things out of my comfort zone. "
Person C: " I never get any sleep when I'm anxious, and sometimes I end up crying for hours until my mom hears me. "
I didn't share their names as I want to protect their privacy, but they gave me the freedom to share what they told me.
After writing down what people told me about their anxiety, I started researching and sketching my photoshoot. I decided to use toys to symbolise people and ice to symbolise anxiety. The toys and other various objects were set up in the water which then was placed in the freezer to freeze the water, and to create the daydreaming effect, I mostly played with balancing highlight and shadows.
By reading various people's experiences with anxiety, I did see myself feeling in those ways. It made me aware that maybe I was creating this project to not just create anxiety awareness but also understand myself. I do suffer from anxiety, and lately, it got worse as I'm at the end of my second year of university. By going back to read some of the things people told me about their own anxiety, I found some words of comfort and advice such as "accept your anxiety", "it is okay to be anxious", "journal your feelings don't jar them away!" and many other small sentences which in a way helped me to feel better. Now, whenever I feel anxious I just go back to my journal and read the sentences of the people I interviewed, because reading them makes me feel less lonely.