10 Pictures To Show What It Really Feels Like Having Anxiety

10 Pictures To Show What It Really Feels Like Having Anxiety

I have to admit that anxiety is something that I personally have struggled with during my entire life. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States 18 and older. This comes to roughly 18% of the U.S population.

The ADAA states that anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.

I can relate on not wanting treatment. There are specific circumstances to which I am more likely to react negatively to. In fact, yesterday on the subway a man started up on a racist tirade, and he was screaming directly at me.

In NYC, most people can just brush this off as just another drunk man, but it makes me extremely anxious. I was trying to explain to my wife why I felt so agitated. She didn’t understand why my hands started to shake, why my heart began to race, why I started to get sweaty, and why I immediately enter into fight of flight mode.

Growing up, I was painfully shy, I often shut down in social settings and just picked a corner to hide in. Loud noises, like the door that was just slammed outside my home make me nervous.Crowds terrify me, and I get extremely anxious even when meeting up with friends.

As I have become older, I have learned to better cope. Thrusting myself into situations that force to me face my fears head on, over and over again. I’ve gone so far as going on television shows multiple times, performing my most vulnerable poetry pieces in front of perfect strangers, and delivering political speeches in front of hundreds of listeners. This is how I cope with my anxiety. Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?


The following photographs are by Katie Crawford. Crawford, a 2015 Louisiana State University Fine Arts grad will take us on a visual journey illustrating what it is like to suffer from Anxiety and Depression.

Thankfully, I have never reached a point where the anxiety incapacitated me, and up until this point I have been able to overcome my episodes without any medical aids. However, for some people it can be a terrible and debilitating experience. Though I recognize that I have anxiety problems, mine are nowhere near as intense as what Katie illustrates here. Anxiety and depression are quite real disorders, and should be treated as such.

Katie Crawford Anxiety 31

    I’m so numb, that being numb has become a feeling.

    Katie Crawford Anxiety 91

      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.


      Katie Crawford Anxiety 1

        Sleeping in the dark doesn’t scare me, the shadows created from the light in the dark do.

        Katie Crawford Anxiety 81

          The anxiety and depression are ever present, ready to take over at a moment’s notice.

          Katie Crawford Anxiety 101

            It feels like you are always holding a glass of water. Never letting go. Then one day you drop it, you let it fall and break.


            Katie Crawford Anxiety 71

              You fear living, while fearing death. Trapped in existence.

              Katie Crawford Anxiety 61

                The scars are deep and never healing.

                Katie Crawford Anxiety 41

                  My mind is my prison. There is no escape. I think, it’s worst. I don’t think, it’s worst. It will pass.


                  Katie Crawford Anxiety 51

                    It lives in the pit of your stomach. It’s like reaching for the bottom of the pool with your toes, but realizing you are in too deep.

                    Katie Crawford Anxiety 21

                      I know I’m breathing, I see my breath, but I can’t breathe.

                      Featured photo credit: Katie Crawford via

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                      Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                      What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

                      What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

                      When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

                      Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

                      It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

                      While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

                      Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

                      What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

                      How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

                      It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.


                      People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

                      “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

                      In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

                      Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

                      As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

                      When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

                      It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.


                      What are Interpersonal Skills?

                      Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

                      In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

                      From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

                      For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

                      Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

                      How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

                      There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

                      There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important


                      Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

                      I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

                      Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

                      “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

                      Don’t overlook introspection.

                      While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

                      Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:


                      When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

                      Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

                      “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

                      The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

                      The Bottom Line

                      You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via

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