My anxiety has grown to become just as destructive as my depression, but I still don’t feel like I have a solid grasp on it. I know my depression well, we’ve spent a long time together. But I’ve only identified my anxiety in recent years, so it still feels new to me.
Still, anxiety is another crippling source of pain in my life and in the lives of the millions who suffer from it daily. Like depression, you can’t get away from it. It holds you down and forces you to watch as it takes dreams and those you love away from you. It suffocates you though you never succumb to the lack of oxygen. You just sit there gasping for air, waiting to pass out, though it never comes.
Like depression, people know very little about what anxiety is like for those who struggle. They don’t get it, and unless they have it themselves, they never truly will. And like depression, it’s up to those of us who fight to talk about it and share our stories, so those who can’t speak up, know they aren’t alone.
A dear friend introduced me to Katie Joy’s work, and I was blown away by what I saw. To say that Katie Joy Crawford is a talented photographer is a gross understatement. In a digitally glossed world, her photography has an old world feel. Moments captured some time long ago. A genuinely refreshing eye behind the camera.
For her senior projected, Katie Joy, decided to turn the camera on herself and explore the anxiety that’s consumed her for so long. Her project, My Anxious Heart, became a cathartic experience for her and one that challenged her in her fight with anxiety. Perhaps even more, her work is impacting the lives of other sufferers who can point to her and say, ‘This is what anxiety is like.’
“My Anxious Heart explores and identifies how emotionally and physically depleting general anxiety disorder can be from a personal perspective. As I have carried anxiety for the majority of my life, I’ve chosen to photographically depict this battle and its constant presence. Since it is within my own mind where anxiety is born, I have decided to interpret my roles as both instigator and victim through self-portraiture.”
Anxiety, like depression, makes us feel isolated and alone in our pain. That’s why it’s important for us to look at others with similar struggles and see that they are making it work and that they are fighting just like us. We have to remember that we aren’t alone.
Here are a few of my favorites from her series.
Please take a look at the rest of Katie Joy’s beautiful, yet haunting photos here. I found the captions she wrote to go along with each photo to be especially powerful and worth your time to read.