Illustrator Jag Nagra Draws Other People's Anxieties for 'I Still Have Anxiety' Series


It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened — anxiety over a particular event, thing you said or awkward encounter can keep you up at night even decades later. To help herself, and others, dispel these anxieties, Canadian-illustrator, Jag Nagra, is drawing them. She shares the illustrations as part of a series called “I Still Have Anxiety.”

“I initially started this project as a joke to document the embarrassing things I had said or done in the past that still gave me pangs of anxiety even years after they happened,” Nagra told The Mighty. “While many of those things were seemingly small and laughable, they still caused a lot of internal anxiety that I couldn’t seem to shake off.”

As part of the series, each illustration is paired with an anonymous short story detailing where the anxiety came from and how long ago it happened.

Illustration of a luggage tag that says "MEX"

10 years ago, at a staff Christmas party, I heard my boss tell someone that he was going to surprise his wife with a vacation over the holidays. As I was leaving, I accidentally blurted to her, “Have a good trip!”

I still have anxiety about this.

At first, the series began with submissions from family and friends. From there, the word spread and others began sending Nagra their stories. “I very quickly realized this site was incredibly cathartic to read,” she said. “Releasing my anxieties, and reading what others submit, it was very freeing and comforting to know we’re not alone in our struggles. And very surprisingly, the things that caused me anxiety — things I held on to for years — posting them on this site has helped me let go of them in some way. ”

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

Illustration of a rotary phone

14 years ago, I put my manager’s name on my resumé as a reference without telling her. When the new company called her for a reference, she was so shocked that she started sobbing on the phone call.

I still have anxiety about this.

Some of the anxieties Nagra illustrates are lighter than others, ranging from embarrassing moments to deeper concerns about mental health.

Illustration of a megaphone

As long as I’ve lived, I’ve had social anxiety and I don’t see it going away. When I have to speak to anyone or do anything, I’m often met with the crippling fear that I’ll screw it up horribly (and probably illogically), and sometimes it’s just too much. I’ve never broken under the pressure, but I’ve lost chances time and again because I couldn’t muster up the nerve to speak to someone.

No wonder I often seem better off alone…

 

So far, the reaction to “I Still Have Anxiety,” has been overwhelmingly positive. “I was talking to a few people one day about some of the submissions on the site, and we all realized that we had similar stories. We would read one out loud, and we could recall similar stories from our own experiences,” Nagra said. “It was that moment I realized that although we don’t always express our thoughts to those around us, we all have unspoken shared experiences as we work our way through our lives. While I won’t be able to post every single submission I receive, it’s still helping bring us together and it helps to know what kinds of thoughts other people are carrying around with them.”

Illustration of the Statue of Liberty

The last few months, I’ve been anxious about whether or not to drop my art and take a big job. I finally decided to take my savings and move to New York, instead.  Am I even more anxious now? Yup.

You can read more stories or submit a story for Nagra to illustrate through the “I Still Have Anxiety” Tumblr page.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Anxiety

red bag that says "survival kit"

The Day I Realized My Son Was Becoming a Self-Advocate

A few weeks ago was the first day of school. And predictably at the end of the day, the kids came home with the stacks paper – some of it actually needed my attention, and much of it went straight into the recycling pile. Among the items that needed my attention was the reminder to send [...]
thumbs up representing social network logo above the word like written on blue background

6 Tips for Avoiding Anxiety Triggers While Using Social Media

Anxiety. Four mere syllables. Seven mere letters. Yet s.u.c.h. a forceful nature. Bully-ish. Controlling. Consuming. Exhausting. A word with which I am all too familiar. A word that has always been a major part of my life. Pushing me around, forcing my mind to spend hours at a time set on a closed circuit of “what ifs,” “whys” and “worst-case” [...]
couple holding hands

A Simple Request for the One Who Will Stay With Me Through My Anxiety

I know you see me, day in and day out.  My happiness fading. Exhausted. Irritable. Ashamed. You have been there through it all. Through the flood of tears. Through the pain. Through the replaying scenarios in my mind, Over and over and over again. Through my incessant building of “false” bridges. Through the restless nights. [...]
Young woman lifts up and hugs her dog

How Getting a Dog Helped Lift Me Out of Anxiety and Depression

I first began experiencing anxiety and depression at the age of 14 after being bullied at school for years. While at first it would come and go, anxiety and depression eventually became a constant presence in my life. It was like a perpetual cough that eventually starts to get better, only to come back worse [...]