This Is What Anxiety Looks Like, According To People Who Suffer With It

Anxiety is something that is hard to understand unless you personally suffer or go through it. For some, anxiety comes in waves when things are going poorly. For others, it’s something they struggle with every single day of their life. To explain anxiety to those who do not experience it, it’s often times hard. However, instead of using words, some people feel as though photos do it better justice. BuzzFeed asked their users who suffer from anxiety to “visually display” their anxiety and, it’s all too telling.

It’s not that bad currently- thank goodness, but my “tick” as my dermatologist explained it is that when I’m feeling anxious, I start itching my neck and my ear. With the constant itching it causes a rash and sometimes bleeding. I have it on both shoulders at the same exact spot, and if I wear tank tops or a shirt that exposes my neck/shoulders, I constantly get asked if it’s a really bad hickey. No fun.


I pick the skin off my thumbs. In the past year it has gotten pretty bad.


Anxiety makes me bite the inside of my lips & cheeks, sometimes until they bleed. This photo is one day after a bad day, trying to let it heal.


This was a project I worked on in high school, when my anxiety was at its worst. Photography was my outlet when I couldn’t describe my anxiety and depression with words. Forever grateful to that experience for getting me through my hardest times. I’ve been going through more hard times recently and looking through my old work has helped immensely.


I have social anxiety and a bipolar disorder. It feel like my brain never stops judging me, and my feelings get all scrambled up. But it’s something that’s most people wouldn’t understand so I have to put a brave face on and pretend nothing is happening to me.


Literally this is what anxiety and depression feel like all the time for me. I look calm and collected on the outside but I’m a nervous wreck on the inside. I never feel good enough or satisfied and I always feel like a failure despite doing well in one of the best engineering universities. The fear of failure drives me crazy and makes me physically ill more often than normal. On the other hand it almost drives me to do well and constantly work so I don’t slip back away into the hell that can be my mind…


i have ADD and both generalized and social anxiety, which led to diagnosed Agoraphobia. the simplest way i can describe it is like having eyes all over. overanalyzing constantly. having panic attacks due to sensory overload. a constant feeling of exposure and vulnerability. inability to focus, or alternately hyper-focusing.


I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life and I’ve found, as cliched as it is, that art is what helps me cope. It forces me to put symbols to what I’m feeling, to acknowledge it and move across it rather than get lost inside.


In high school I did my senior art project on the progression of an anxiety attack through self portrait. This piece was an attempt to capture the sense of internalized shame and isolation I experienced after the peak panic subsides after an anxiety attack.




For years I’ve been peeling the skin off my lips.


i tend to say sorry too much, i’m a push over by nature. and when i feel like i’ve done something wrong my ‘sorrys’ get really bad. So i take my anxiety out by just writing and drawing, and i think this specific one was a bad argument with my boyfriend. and i guess sometime we all just lose it. even if it’s just saying sorry too damn much.


I have OCD and GAD. Both of these cause me to pull my hair out, both consciously and subconsciously. I have PD as well, and an attack feels like two large hands squeezing on your heart and lungs.


I always bite and pick at my cuticles and the skin around my nails. I recently moved and started a new job, so my hands look awful (and my brain hurts constantly)!


Found something applicable. Like your head being torn in two.


This is what a panic attack feels like to me.

Claire S.


When I’m out in public, I always make sure I have bandaids and paper towel with me. I literally tear off my cuticles and the skin around my fingertips to the point where they bleed for hours and stain everything I touch.


I was feeling very anxious and depressed the summer before college. I decided I needed to write it all out and once I started I couldn’t stop, but it helped me realize what was causing me grief and making me unhappy. I keep this journal just in case I reach that low again, but luckily I have not.


I’ve been biting my hand for a few years now. When I get nervous or anything, I just chew on my fingers.

Hannah Rose Mason

i haven’t been professionally diagnosed yet but whenever i feel anxious or sad i start chewing/ scratching my fingers which leads to cuts and scars (i have 3 scars on my other hand aswell) 🙁


My right hand is just as bad. They’ve been like this for as long as I can remember…


h/t: BuzzFeed.