Motion design ︎︎︎ Léa Margerie
Original score  ︎︎︎ Keegan Dewitt
30% of the population is destined to be seriously impaired with anxiety, which makes it the most common mental illness in our society. A study published in 2006 by The American Journal of Psychiatry found that Americans lose a collective 321 million days of work because of anxiety and depression each year, costing the economy $50 billion annually. Yet, the entire spectrum of anxiety is not fully understood by the medical community and hence, even less by the average person.


Its broadness and subjectivity are what makes it so difficult to understand. Despite the emergent culture of introspection, Anxiety is not something new or derived from the western culture: a hundred years ago the Greenland Inuit used to call their fear to go out seal hunting alone “kayak angst”, which would nowadays commonly be called Agoraphobia. The Iranians call it “heart distress”, the Americans “Heart Attack”, the Japanese a fear of fainting and South Americans an “ataques de nervios”. Could all those naming systems simply be a “panic attack” according to Western psychiatry?
Sigmund Freud was the first one in Europe to talk about this condition and to claim his own suffering in The problem of Anxiety in 1926, describing Anxiety as “not a simple thing to grasp” and confessing to Wilhem Fliess even earlier on in 1897, that “The chief patient I am preoccupied with is myself”.

"Anxiety is the most prominent mental characteristic of Occidental civilisation."

- R. R Willoughby in 1935 in Magic and Cognate Phenomena from a Handbook of Social Psychology”.


What do we talk about when we talk about Anxiety, is an 11 minute-long documentary which aims to raise awareness around the topic of anxiety, by giving a voice to people who experience its entire spectrum. Witnessing the diverse range of symptoms, from small daily occurrences to a full-blown anxiety attack, the viewer gains an understanding of its impact on an entire lifetime. The documentary covers the interviewees experience with the medical profession, their use of treatments, and the emotional gap that exists between themselves and others. Through these authentic testimonies, a human-centred view of the topic arises, complementing its description in the medical literature. Throughout the documentary, the viewer is invited to discover these experiences, and reflect on their own, often finding a common thread connecting us all.

© Marine Renaudineau 2023 All rights reserved.