Interview: Artist with Anxiety Illustrates Mental Health Tips She Learns in Therapy

Illustrator Kate Allan was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as an adult. The identification not only validated her experience, but it has given her the opportunity to use her artistic talent to help herself and others in the quest for improved mental health. Allan has taken what she’s learned since entering therapy to create a mental health comic about mindfulness. “Mindfulness,” she says on Twitter, “can be useful for literally everyone, but I found it particularly helpful for anxiety—this exercise got me out of the house and functioning again.”

Through the guidance of a cute bunny, Allan’s 10-panel comic introduces mindfulness and how it can help pinpoint emotions. By noticing, acknowledging, and thinking through feelings, the practice emphasizes that emotions are temporary—not part of our identity. You, for example, are not sad, but you are experiencing sadness at this moment. The feeling will pass, just as all others eventually will. Allan treats this serious subject without judgment and through a charming presentation. It’s thoughtfully created and, above all, is comforting to those who have anxiety; Allan is reminding us that no one is alone.  more

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Being Adopted Adds An Extra Layer To My Anxiety

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Following a long, harrowing job search after losing an even more soul-crushing job, I had finally landed my dream position. Yet, any time I saw co-workers having a conversation I wasn’t involved in, I was convinced it was about how they didn’t like my work, and I would lose my job again. I knew it was time to head back to therapy to address these irrational thoughts before they got out of hand, and I scored off the charts for GAD.

Like many others who receive unexpected mental health diagnoses, I wondered: am I “weak” — though, as I’ve learned, there’s nothing “weak” about needing support for mental illness — or is it just my genetic lottery? But as someone who’s adopted, I didn’t know “where” my mental health condition came from — or what may surface later in life.  more

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