This Student Took Disturbing Images To Show What Anxiety Feels Like

Katie Joy Crawford, 23, is a photography student in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.Meet Katie Joy Crawford, a 23-year-old photography student based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

She decided to create a photo series of her experiences with depression and anxiety for her senior thesis. Her thesis, “My Anxious Heart,” had 12 self-portraits detailing the crippling effect of the mental illness. She spent three hours for each shot and used a camera remote to capture the photos.

“It quickly became a cathartic experience for me that has led to such healing and self-discovery,” Crawford told BuzzFeed. “I want those that suffer to feel like they have a voice and a hand to hold. I never want anyone to feel alone, as anxiety and depression can be isolating on its own.”

Here are a few photos and captions from her remarkable series…

The suffocating feeling…:On feeling like you're suffocating:

“They keep telling me to breathe. I can feel my chest moving up and down. Up and down. Up and down. But why does it feel like I’m suffocating? I hold my hand under my nose, making sure there is air. I still can’t breathe.”

When you are stuck in your own head…:On being stuck in your own head:

“A captive of my own mind. The instigator of my own thoughts. The more I think, the worse it gets. The less I think, the worse it gets. Breathe. Just breathe. Drift. It’ll ease soon.”

The feeling of being stuck in your life:On feeling stuck in your life:

“I’m afraid to live and I’m afraid to die. What a way to exist.”

When you feel paralyzed and cannot act anything:On feeling paralyzed to act:

“It’s strange — in the pit of your stomach. It’s like when you’re swimming and you want to put your feet down but the water is deeper than you thought. You can’t touch the bottom and your heart skips a beat.”

On the exhausting oscillation between anxiety and depression:On the draining oscillation between depression and anxiety:

“Depression is when you can’t feel at all. Anxiety is when you feel too much. Having both is a constant war within your own mind. Having both means never winning.”

When you feel so trapped:On feeling trapped:

“You were created for me and by me. You were created for my seclusion. You were created by venomous defense. You are made of fear and lies. Fear of unrequited promises and losing trust so seldom given. You’ve been forming my entire life. Stronger and stronger.”

And that moment when your brain weighs you down:On feeling so weighed down by your brain:

“A glass of water isn’t heavy. It’s almost mindless when you have to pick one up. But what if you couldn’t empty it or set it down? What if you had to support its weight for days… months… years? The weight doesn’t change, but the burden does. At a certain point, you can’t remember how light it used to seem. Sometimes it takes everything in you to pretend it isn’t there. And sometimes, you just have to let it fall.”

And that time when you are having anxiety towards sleeping:

On having anxiety around sleeping:

“I was scared of sleeping. I felt the most raw panic in complete darkness. Actually, complete darkness wasn’t scary. It was that little bit of light that would cast a shadow — a terrifying shadow.”