I created a project for myself to heal from a crippling disorder that had me living my life in fear. I never expected it to resonate with so many others.
I want to thank everyone that sent such wonderful messages, comments, emails and facebook shares. I think what became clear is how each person dealing with anxiety usually feels so alone and hopeless. I just want you to know how untrue that is. In no way are you alone.
I’m so overwhelmed, excited, blessed, thankful, slightly anxious, and amazed at the response My Anxious Heart has received. I set out to explore my pain and battle, and it has turned into a resource for others. I wouldn’t wish this illness on anyone, but I’m so thankful people are able to say:
“My dad said he finally was able to visualize what I’ve been saying all these years”
“I’ve never had anxiety but you’ve given me a better understanding of what my wife is battling daily”
“I don’t feel alone anymore.”
You aren’t alone. You aren’t crazy. It’s ok that you can’t “just calm down”.
I wanted to try and address some questions I’ve received over the past week and give some updated information.
Q: “Can you explain more of your story?”
A: I’m so incredibly excited to say that this has motivated me to finally put a book together. I’ve been trying to decide if it was a good idea or if it would even be well received, and I finally feel like I can do it. Even more than me feeling like I can do it, I feel like I need to do it. My sister, who has her Masters in mental health counseling and her provisional LPC license, will be joining me in creating a book to help those with General Anxiety Disorder and Depression. It will contain these photographs, photographs that have not been released, more writings that describe symptoms, exercises for day to day self-care and handling panic, and our full stories as two young women who have battled these disorders for over a decade. I will be posting more information on social media as it comes together.
Q: “Do you sell prints, or would you be interested in selling them?”
A: I’m still figuring out My Anxious Heart. But I will update everyone soon! Until then you can find previous works for sale at http://www.society6.com/katiejoy
Q: “What are some ways you have dealt with the panic? Is there anything I can do to make this easier on my loved one?”
A: My goal is to help each person battling this illness to address their anxiety and deal with it at the root. I want them to know that just like with any illness, there is a source. There may not be a cure, but there are ways to treat it without just numbing the symptoms. I also want to be able to provide insight to those who have never experienced it. These are all things I will cover in the book, but I will be posting a blog within the week that will explain the things I did to begin facing my anxiety.
I need to thank you all hundreds of times. This has not been an easy journey. Life already has its challenges and being tormented by your own thoughts doesn’t help in any way. Thank you for being vulnerable, honest, and open. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Thank you for your encouragement and support. Thank you for fighting everyday to continue to live your life as best as you can. Thank you for being genuine. I may have captured the photographs, but I didn’t describe anything new. It’s a battle. It’s a daily fight for freedom of your own mind.
I’ve been anxious my entire life. Your body goes into fight or flight mode when you’re anxious. My whole life I’ve chosen flight. My first response is “GET OUT NOW”. But when I read all of the responses, I felt this drive to fight for the first time in my life. I’m fighting for each person that feels alone. I’m fighting for those who are too scared to do it themselves. I’m fighting for those who can’t articulate their pain. And I’m fighting to end a stigma that has created an obstacle for anyone to speak out about their mental illness.
I want to end this stigma that “it’s all in your head”. It IS in your head; and that’s the most terrifying part.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, feedback, or anything you’d like to share.
Contact about the project: firstname.lastname@example.org