The feeling that you’re just a split-second away from being engulfed in a pyre of blazing flames. That the ghosts of your present loom around you, playing a constant cacophony of your fears and insecurities. That you’re unsafe in your own home, like every object and person in there is excogitating to kill you. That’s how it is with this monster called Anxiety. It slowly creeps up in the palace of your mind and starts devouring everything inside, till all that remains is grim wreckage. In the recent past, I had a stern encounter with the beast myself, which left me feeling uneasy, confined, and helpless for months. It got to the point where it changed the way I perceived and reacted to many things, and it was extremely nerve-wracking for me to be in a constant state of discomfort and unrest. Luckily for me, talking to the people I was close to helped immensely. But at the same time, not everyone gets this lucky, do they?
As I was fighting my own demons, it occurred to me that in a time when people should be able to open up about their mental health issues and seek help, they’re still fighting with the stigma around it. Sadly, this only exacerbates their situation, pulling them further into the black hole of their minds. In my efforts to help people like me and those who have it worse, I wanted to come up with a pictorial representation of how it feels to deal with this disorder. The Anxiety Series was born out of this thought, in the hopes to serve as a visual medium to a furtive, deep-rooted feeling. I wanted the viewer to be able to step inside the mind of someone who is suffering from anxiety—to be able to hear the sounds, taste the fear, and feel the state of things. To my comfort, once I released the pictures, many people who’d been through something similar reached out to me, grateful that someone had put their feelings into pictures and words. I’m grateful too, to everyone who stood by me in my tough times and to my team of The Anxiety Series, who agreed to take this challenge head-on. It was only with 6 months of planning and curation that I could do justice to the subject, from creating 8 different worlds to charting out the emotions and writing and rewriting the poems till I had something meaningful.
I believe that Anxiety is a disorder that needs to be discussed openly and with a lot of tenderness. If we fail at that as a society, a disturbing amount of people will continue to suffer silently and never have the courage to open up, heal, and step out of this hell.
It’s important to note that anxiety disorders often keep people from sleeping, concentrating, talking to others, or even leaving their home. The Anxiety that may need treatment is often irrational, overwhelming, and disproportionate to the situation. It becomes classified as a disorder when normal anxiety becomes irrational and begins to recur and interfere with daily life. It makes sufferers feel as though they have no control over their feelings, and it can involve severe physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, or trembling.