Anxiety Art // What’s The Title Of Your Anxiety Novel?

Words mean the world. Wanting to incorporate my love of literature into my next Anxiety Art series, I asked two incredibly talented souls this question:

If your anxiety was a book, what would be the title? 

 

A question near and dear to my heart, I had so much fun brainstorming and working with these wonderful women on beautifully authentic results. Whether you’re a fan of sci-fi, romance, YA or fantasy, check out these books that break the stigma:

 

Morgan Stinson 

Thankful she’s made her way back into my life, Morgan has always been the creative type. When she’s not kicking ass at roller derby or playing with her pup Blue, she bravely fights anxiety and depression. Rekindling her love of drawing, I asked her to draw the title of her anxiety novel, and here’s the horror genre she created!

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“When I get anxious or have an anxiety episode, I become paranoid. I overthink and irrationally react to every little thing, often pushing those closest to me away. My fears eat away at me like some unseen parasite inside my body, hoping to make an escape and wreak havoc upon my world. I become a whole other entity, and often wonder what had gotten into me after I’ve relaxed and have calmed down.

One of my favorite films is John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” and I believe that if my anxiety were a book, it’d have a similar premise. A young woman is terrorized by an entity inside her that changes her into a hideous, grotesque, terrifying monster. The twist? Well I don’t want to spoil it for you, but she manages to develop a cure and overcomes the creature within! No matter how many times “The Thing” tries to take over, I always manage to wrangle it in before it’s done too much damage. I’m also getting better at preventing it from even appearing, and am proud to say that I am no longer afraid of the monster. I am at peace with it.”

 

Sanna

A truly talented Finland-based artist, Sanna expresses her creativity through pins, keychains and other adorable, yet stigma breaking, accessories. Before I asked her to be part of this series, I stumbled across her profile due to my growing obsession with pins. With the ability to customize her pins, she did me the immense honor of creating a few unique pieces for Anxiety Erica (here they are first because I will be showing these off any chance I get):

 

Aware of her serious skill, I then asked her to be part of Anxiety Art. Unsure on what she had created, she sent her piece over to me with signs of self doubt, but boy was she wrong – it’s so beautiful. Although some things aren’t always what we picture them to be, the end result can surprise us in ways we never expected. Sharing her story with mental illness publicly for the first time, here is Sanna’s art.

 

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“I’m Sanna, an almost 30-year-old who’s been battling mental illness for a good two thirds of my life. I had my first anxiety attack at the age of eleven. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed in my room and being consumed by an unnamed terror no child should ever have to experience. Cue almost twenty years later, I’m still battling the same demons, but now I can put names on most of them. 

I’ve learned that I’m highly sensitive, an empath, and how despite having two loving parents, certain things in my childhood (like my father’s illness and untimely death and being bullied in school) forced me to develop coping mechanisms that are hurtful now as an adult. Most of all, I’ve learned that recovery and getting to know who you really are isn’t linear, it’s a ~spiral~.

Hence the name I chose if I ever were to turn my life into a book. Even when I feel like it’s one step forward, two steps back, I know that I always learn something whenever I make even the slightest bit of progress. These days, I have a day job as a registered nurse (not something I wish to keep doing for the rest of my life, but it’ll do for now), but in my free time I make jewelry, pins and other knick-knacks for mental health awareness.

During my years fighting my own fight I’ve noticed the stigma of mental illness isn’t as bad as it used to be, but it’s still there, and I want to be a part of making it less so.”

 

 

Every time I do this series, I’m amazed at the raw, powerful beauty that artists can bring into the world with just a pen. Thank you so much to these awesome women for sharing their stories and creating work that will help others heal.

 

Are you an artist that supports mental health? Share your story and you might be featured on the next Anxiety Art series! 

Anxiety Art // What’s Your Animal?

Art has power. Through the second installment of my series, I’ve learned just how crucial visual expression can be in healing. After the amazing reception of the first post – you can check it out here – I was itching to reach out to more Instagram artists. Searching far and wide, I found two bright stars: Stephanie and Alisa. 

Keeping this project going strong, these whimsical, yet powerful women took full command of the next question in my series:

What’s your anxiety animal?

 

I was so stoked when Stephanie said she wanted to be part of this series. I’ll be honest – you can sense her talent from miles away. Making “high quality art things,” as she calls them on her Instagram, this darling soul is an artist and illustrator based out of Toronto, Canada. Her raw emotion, passion, and genuine silliness truly shine throughout each piece she creates. This submission is no different:

Stephanie Kenzie 

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“I decided my anxiety animal must be a hedgehog– anxiety always feels sharp and prickly to me, like I have a ball of pins stuck in my throat. Also hedgehogs always deal with things by curling up into balls, and when my anxiety is bad, so do I!”

This is seriously the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen guys. I want it framed in my studio. 

 

The second submission comes from Alisa, a creative and expressive artist with a heart of gold. With a message to free yourself and find your happy, Alisa is a jack of all trades. Whether she’s singing on her YouTube channel, writing poetry, practicing yoga, cooking up delicious healthy meals, or even creating a beautiful, authentic drawing like this one – she puts her heart and soul into each and every expression.

Alisa Briski 

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“The Mexican Cantil Snake. This is a mocking predator and the end of its tail looks like a worm. It will lure in prey by hiding and waiting until the last second to make its move. My anxiety works in much the same way. It sits, patiently waiting, luring me in with thoughts that “really matter.” It mocks “real problems” and then before I know it, I’m in too deep and it has wrapped itself around my whole life and mind.”

 

I feel so proud to have yet another successful installment of this series on the blog. Helping to fight the stigma against mental illness, these powerful pieces of art not only bring unknown aspects of anxiety to life – they help others heal and feel less alone in their own journey.

 

Are you an artist who would like to be part of my Anxiety Art series? Share your story in the comments below and you may be featured on the blog! 

 

Anxiety Art // What’s Your Superpower?

With my blog, it’s become so clear what the power of words can accomplish. While I view myself as a skilled writer, I’m not much of an artist. I can draw a mean stick figure, though.

I’ve been falling in love with the different artists that have taken to Instagram and social media to express their versions of mental illness through art. I really wanted to share these unique, specific stories on the blog so I reached out to two beautiful, bold souls to kick off the beginning of a new project.

Vulnerable, vibrant and brimming with creativity, Alexia and Jessica are two women who understand the power of sharing their journey.

In the first ever installment of my new series – Anxiety Art – I decided to ask these two artists one important question:

What’s your anxiety superpower? 

 

The first piece is from someone I’m proud to call a friend. Attending the same college, I was always stunned by Alexia’s brazen, yet beautiful personality. A truly unique soul with scary fantastic talent, here is her submission:

Alexia Markopoulos

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“Fart Woman has a new super power: honing her own anxieties and shooting them at her enemies. Tripping out about the future and racing thoughts melt their brains – I am Fart Woman. Not only does Fart Woman have electric shock hair, plutonium heels, and poisonous farts, she has the ability to embrace her anxiety and use it to save the world.” 

 

The second submission is from a sassy and sensitive soul – Jessica Ferhadson. Using art therapy for her own mental health, Jessica is a Psychology BA Studio Art Minor. Selling handcrafted stickers and pins on her Etsy store, she isn’t just surviving through her mental illness – she’s thriving. Check out her beautiful submission:

Jessica Ferhadson

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“My superpower is the ability to combat my mind. Whether it be through calming my mind, talking down my paranoia, or not taking things to personally – this is a superpower that helps me get through each day. Getting sudden waves of stress or overthinking certain issues is rough, but with the power of my mind, I am able to recognize when I am overreacting and when to just take a deep breath.

Your mind is powerful, sometimes that can be negative. It’s how we counteract the negative with the positive that is important to focus on. Focusing on the negative and ruminating is much easier than focusing on the positive. So having the ability to fight the negative and visa versa is hard, but strong. Being in a constant battle with your mind is difficult, but sometimes can be productive and lead to self-awareness. It is a superpower I wish I didn’t have to have, but proud to carry with me.”

 

I’m so honored to have these powerful pieces of art living on my blog and to be able to show all of you just how extraordinary these women are – and how their art helps to fight the stigma of mental illness.

 

 

Are you an artist who would like to be part of my Anxiety Art series? Share your story in the comments below and you may be featured on the blog!