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Posted On: 18th Jun 2019

Perspective Art

Shannon Cole was diagnosed with anxiety at 13.
She wants to help others with anxiety.
Shannon created a leaflet with Fixers.

Just the thought of leaving the house on her own can fill Shannon Cole with dread.

 

For she suffers with anxiety, a mental health condition which has cast a huge shadow across her life.

 

In a bid to help other young people in a similar position, the 23-year-old has created a therapeutic workbook with Fixers.

 

‘Anxiety has had a huge impact on my life,’ says Shannon, from Sheerness.  ‘I struggle with travel and always have to rely on people to take me places. 

 

'Even when I have someone there I am always questioning them to check we are on the right train.

 

‘Leaving the house on my own is a challenge.  If I go out on my own it's around my local town which is a couple of minutes’ walk from my house. 

 

'I'm not out long as crowds of people get too much for me and I can't handle it so I go back home.’

 

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

 

While everyone experiences it from time to time, people with anxiety find it hard to control their worries. 

 

They often feel anxious most days and are consumed by their thoughts.

 

Symptoms can be both psychological and physical, and as well as feeling restless or worried, can leave people struggling to concentrate or sleep, and feeling dizzy or experiencing heart palpitations.

 

Shannon was diagnosed with anxiety when she was 13-years-old, after finding social situations very difficult.

 

‘I don't think I've ever been anxiety-free but I began feeling nauseous when I was out in public and would bite the skin on my knuckles. 

 

'I'd break down and cry when things got too overwhelming, experienced mood swings and insomnia, and was constantly worrying and overthinking things.

 

Ten years later, the condition continues to dominate her daily life.

 

‘Life with anxiety is hard, it's like I'm trapped and there's no way out. 

 

'I have good days and really bad days. When I have a bad day I can become easily agitated over the slightest thing. I don't really like to be around people when that happens.’

 

 

Learning various coping strategies to help her deal with her daily struggles, Shannon says one of the most helpful ones is doing art.

 

Creating her workbook with Fixers, Shannon – who hopes to one day run her own art therapy business -has titled it Perspective Art: A workbook for anxiety sufferers by an anxiety sufferer.

 

It includes helpful information on how to deal with anxiety and art-related activities designed to help sufferers relax.

 

To take a look click on the image below:

 

 

 

‘This book is for people, like me, who struggle with anxiety,’ says Shannon.  ‘It’s a space where you can relax and help relieve your anxieties by being creative, which has always helped me with my anxiety.  I hope it helps other people with theirs too.'

 

Shannon hopes her book, which includes pages for colouring, doodles and collage work, will be used in local secondary schools and colleges.

 

‘I want to raise as much awareness about anxiety as I can. I want people to remember that they are not alone and it's okay to ask for help and support.’

 

This project has been supported by the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust.

 

To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below:

 

Author: Sarah Jones

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