The Pain Of Crippling Anxiety In 10 Paintings

Because sometimes the best way to explain what we’re dealing with is through art.

I was five or six years old the first time I felt social anxiety. The same bitter feeling I experienced that day, came back to me repeatedly throughout my life. I was in Spanish class and the teacher was asking every student to read out loud a paragraph of a book. As soon as she finished saying the instruction, my body started to shake like crazy. I suddenly became stressed out for having to read in front of everyone else. "What if I mess this up? What if they make fun of me?" My heart was pounding harder and harder each time the teacher came closer to me. When the moment came, I stood up, shaking, with a trembling voice, and made it through the whole thing. I was glad the horror had ended and also afraid that it could happen again.

Deep by Mario Sanchez Nevado

Anxiety can be painful, disabling, discouraging, frustrating, all at the same time. It will arrive in the worst possible moment, and it will make you feel weak and afraid. It will make you think you’re not worth it. It will make you sabotage yourself. That’s why it is so important to know how it works, to feel it coming, and protect ourselves from it until it goes away.

Panic Attack Be Anxious For Nothing by Anthony Falbo

The Anxiety of Saint Joseph by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

The Scream by Edvard Munch

People with anxiety have learned to deal with it in a lot of different ways, such as relaxation exercises, yoga, meditation, therapy, sports, and art. This last one has proven to be particularly helpful, because turns out that it is actually very cathartic. Writing a song, a book, a poem, or taking a picture, creating a sculpture, or a movie; they help people let out anything that messes with their minds. I guess that’s why they say artists are crazy. They are just letting out everything they’re dealing with, as everybody has to, but in a different way.

Untitled by Monica Rohan

One In Four by Scarlett Raven

El grito nº 3 by Oswaldo Guayasamin

Art is a very useful pain reliever for anxious people, because as it assists to vent the stress, it also helps other (non-anxious) people understand what they're going through. It’s fascinating to think about art in this way. It’s a very powerful way to show vulnerability to strangers. It doesn’t matter if it came out weird, complex, or too abstract. They don’t care if people like it or not, of if they make fun of it. They just let it all out to feel better, to have a painless mindset.

Social Anxiety by Marla Edwards

Life Feeds on Life by Robert Wolverton Jr

Anxiety by Mary Woronov

Art forms that show what anxiety feels like usually are popular and-eye catching, but also very disturbing. They disrupt our mind and make us feel uncomfortable. But that’s okay, because anxiety itself is very uncomfortable, so it’s only natural that its art forms end up being awkward. That’s the beauty of art when it comes to mental health: its esthetic elements will never be diminished for the message, whether it is happiness, sadness, stress, or anger, and the result will be equally appreciated.


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Cover photo by: Souzay