Anxiety Me is a (mostly) silent comic by writer and artist Nicole Bates. This is her first comic and it’s truly an amazingly personal tale of dealing with an unfortunately now-common problem of anxiety.
Before I even delved into the tale, I was struck by the beautiful painting of the cover. I have a particular fondness of the painting style of illustrations, and Bates’ skill as an artist is shown from the very start. On my read through, I found the story of Anxiety Me is simple and poignant. It’s about a little girl dealing with the everyday pressures of anxiety, worry and panic. The message of this is meant for all ages and that message is that you are not alone.
The painting illustrations throughout the comic are just really beautiful. The nice use of pastel and lighter colors really brought out the nature of the imagery that Bates is using to tell the story of the anxious little girl. This type of painting illustration reminds me of artwork in a lot of older children’s books like Winnie the Pooh and Frog and Toad. The style fits with the point Bates wanted to make with as little words as possible.
However, when words are used in this comic, they are particularly powerful in their display. Here’s just one example of the powerful nature of the images with words:
Aside from the powerful use of a few words, clearly the imagery has far more meaning. The sequential series of pictures tell the story of the little girl and her daily struggle with constant worry and anxiety attacks. The girl is lost at sea, but it’s a metaphor for having such a suffocating amount of anxiety that you can’t find your way home.
The beauty of this story is that it is not a pessimistic view, but rather positive. Anxiety Me showed through the paintings that there is nothing wrong with feelings of anxiety, stress, and pressure in everyday life and that there are ways to handle it, but not by yourself. My only issue with the comic is that I wanted more of it, I could stand to enjoy the artwork all day!
Ultimately, anxiety is a powerful issue. Many, many people suffer from anxiety for a variety of reasons. But the stigma on mental illness is strong and easily dismissed as an issue. It’s good to see an indie artist and writer create a wonderful, all-ages work that has such a strong understanding of anxiety (i.e. feeling lost at sea) in our modern, crazy world.
Anxiety Me is something I would recommend to anyone of any age and to anyone suffering from that feeling of anxiety and dread.