Anyone affected by anxiety and depression knows how difficult going through life can be. For example, have you ever considered the strength it takes to cook a simple meal or run to the grocery store?
In general, most people have these moments. Sometimes we just don’t want to go to the store and opt to order pizza instead. But for someone with anxiety, these tasks can feel as though you are dragging a 50-ton weight behind you – bones aching, head throbbing – and even the thought of running into someone you know can terrifying.
Anxiety is a mental health disorder 40 million Americans suffer from, per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. And out of these 40 million, many don’t talk about it or share their experiences. Why? Maybe they are ashamed or they think no one will understand. That’s the thing with anxiety – it fools sufferers into thinking their emotions are undeserved.
One artist, Clare Kayden Hines, took to Instagram with humorous illustrations and real-life talk about how anxiety affects her.
She was recently interviewed by the Huff Post, saying:
“My anxiety makes me feel like I’m never doing enough, accomplishing enough, and that I’m constantly falling behind or disappointing someone.”
“I think all of us — women, in particular — are under a huge amount of pressure to do and be everything to everyone,” she continued. “My art is my reaction to these pressures and expectations. It allows me to express my frustrations and anxieties out loud, and also laugh at them.”
The reaction from her followers is what keeps her going.
“A lot of the time I don’t know if anyone will relate to the weird stuff I put out there, but I do it anyway — and am pleasantly surprised and happy when I find out I’m not the only one,” she said. “It’s a reminder that I’m not alone or crazy for feeling the way I do.”
Taken from my own personal experiences, anxiety causes physical disruptions such as headaches, lethargy, restlessness, sweating, and a racing heartbeat. But along with the physical come the emotional consequences: sleeplessness, excessive worry that you are not good enough, deep-seated fears, and the inability to be around people.
When left untreated, anxiety can become crippling. Of the 40 million people suffering from some level of anxiety, only 36.9% receive some sort of treatment, per the ADAA.
Through her art, Hines hopes to show people they are not alone:
“My goal, beyond my art and my account being a creative outlet for me, is to make people feel less ‘alone’ by seeing themselves in my posts. The more we talk about the things we feel ashamed of, or think are abnormal, the more we’ll realize we’re not alone,” she said.
Power in numbers is an extraordinary thing. I’ve found talking about anxiety does make me feel whole – it helps so much when a friend or relative says, “I understand. I deal with that too.”
“If all of us shared how we felt with each other, we’d realize all these stigmas weren’t actually stigmas, they’re normal and common,” Hines added. “And they’re only as scary and powerful as we let them be.”
I couldn’t agree more. Visit her Instagram for more amazing illustrations.