Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health issue in the U.S., and for the 50 million Americans affected, coping can be a serious challenge. However, when it comes to destigmatizing these conditions, a little humor can go a long way. By creating satirical covers for the imaginary Anxiety: The Magazine, Twitter user @crayonelyse is sparking both dialogues and giggles about the inner workings of the anxiety-besetted brain, revealing what it’s really like to live with the particular tensions and worries that the afflicted know so well.
A graduate student in her mid-twenties who prefers the pseudonym Crayon, the artist gets her ideas from real life, whether based on current events, work, her friends, or her own inner experiences. She writes down each concept as it hits her and then designs the covers using Powerpoint. Whether diagnosed with anxiety disorders or merely experiencing everyday jitters of stress and worry, most of us can relate to the fictional headlines, causing cringes that turn to giggles. (Here are just a few of the hilarious would-be articles: “Quiz: how long until your advisor figures out you are a FAILURE?” “DON’T HIT SEND: Check it for typos! Now check it again. Repeat.” “EVERYONE is talking about your weird toenails!”)
Crayon says that humor has been a helpful way for her to approach her own struggles with mental health, enabling her to view her thoughts and emotions from a more rational, outside perspective. She explains to Bustle, “It reminds me that these thoughts aren’t reality or, at least, they don’t have to be…Laughing helps. It keeps me breathing, thinking. It helps me be me.” She notes that this tactic might not work for everyone—for some people, there’s nothing silly about the profound burdens caused by these disorders. For Crayon, however, the series serves as an engaging way to show that anxiety is more common than we tend to acknowledge out loud. With her faux magazine, she’s not making light of the condition, but rather raising awareness and combating stigma.
All images via @crayonelyse.