9 comics that perfectly illustrate what it's like to live with anxiety

An illustration of a heart and a little black hole-style character made to represent anxiety, sitting under a tree

Those of us who live with anxiety have likely had the realization that we’ll always have a little extra stress following us around than others on any given day.

While that tether to anxiety can certainly feel like more of a ball and chain than a friendly puppy on a leash, the relationship each of us has with mental health is a complex experience — one that is certainly worth navigating.

Haley Weaver — the artist behind the popular Instagram account @haleydrewthis, and the mental health newsletter Haley Wrote This, has just released a poignant, playful book all about this relationship.

Haley Weaver, a white woman with dirty blonde, shoulder-length hair, sits in an olive green chair
Haley Weaver. Photo courtesy of Kate Weaver

It’s called “Give Me Space but Don’t Go Far: My Unlikely Friendship with Anxiety,” and it’s full of personal stories, relatable anecdotes, and comics that make anxiety almost seem adorable. Almost.

Weaver shared the following comics and excerpts from her book to help all of us Nervous Nellies feel seen, understood — and maybe even a bit more in control of our anxiety.

The best Haley Weaver comics about living with anxiety

The brain-eating amoeba

If anyone asks if you’ve been Googling your symptoms, just show them this comic instead.

An illustration of a heart and a little black hole. The black hole says "What if that headache you had yesterday is actually a brain-eating amoeba and it slowly takes over your body until you don't remember any of your friends or family or passions or dreams?!"
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

Confidence in your coping skills

It’s always such a relief when you feel like you’ve finally conquered something … only for your anxiety to say “wait a minute, I think I’m actually more qualified to take this on.”

An illustration of a heart talking to a black hole character. The heart says "I'm going to cope with you so hard, you won't even know what hit you!" The Black Hole replies "uh, I've already met some of your coping mechanisms, and no offense, but I think I can take 'em."
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

An out-of-body experience

Somehow, anxiety always seems to be around when you’re trying on clothes, doing your hair a different way, or even making new friends. Like, who asked you?!

An illustration of a heart looking into a mirror. Behind it stands a black hole-style character representing anxiety. It asks "oh god, how do we change all of it?"
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

The spiral

First lesson in panicking: One anxious thought always leads to another. And to another… and another… and another.

An illustration of a thought spiral
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

That heart-sinking feeling

The moment of realization when a panic attack hits, or an anxious thought fills you with dread? Just like being on the top of a rollercoaster.

Three small characters sit at the top of a loop on a roller coaster. One says "uh oh."
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

Liar, liar

Anxiety just looooves it when you come home after a fun night with beloved friends and suddenly they can make you feel like you actually did everything wrong.

An illustration of a black hole-style character representing anxiety sitting next to a heart on a bed. The anxiety says "nobody likes us, everybody hates us." and the heart says "okay, we're not doing this."
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

A big, dark tornado

Sometimes anxiety spirals get so big and so meaty that it’s hard to ever find your way out. Sometimes they get so overwhelming that you begin to realize that what you’re really scared of is the anxiety itself.

A big cloud of black squiggles represents a panic attack, yelling "you were in danger! what will people think? I am going to explode!" On the sidelines stands a small illustration of a heart, saying "stop, you're scaring me!"
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

Setting boundaries

Once you emerge from those dark storms, the clouds always part, and you realize that you really do have the strength and wisdom to decide what feelings deserve your attention.

A drawing of a big, black tornado represents anxiety. Beside it, a small heart says "I think we should see other people.".
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

The game of life

Even when healing isn’t linear, you can keep stepping in the right direction — one that leads to a deeper, fuller, and more beautiful life, even with anxiety by your side.

An illustration of a heart and a black hole-like character that represents anxiety. They walk around a circular path representing progress. The anxiety says "how do we win?" and the heart replies "I don't think it's that kind of game."
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

You can learn more and explore more of Haley Weaver’s work at haleydrewthis.com or @haleydrewthis. Check out her new book, “Give Me Space but Don’t Go Far: My Unlikely Friendship with Anxiety,” wherever books are sold.

Header image courtesy of Haley Weaver/Penguin Random House

Article Details

April 16, 2024 6:00 AM
Abstract illustration divided into two halves: the left side depicts a dark, starry night sky with celestial elements like planets and moons, while the right side shows a bright daytime sky with clouds and swirling lines. In the center, a yin-yang symbol and scales of justice represent balance, harmony, and social justice.

The key to ending injustice? Being good at relationships, according to this Harvard-educated psychologist

If we hope to end all injustices — and that should be our goal, lofty as it may seem — we need a foundational shift in how we approach achieving justice. 
From left to right: Sofia, Karli, and Elmo from "Sesame Street."

Elmo wants to 'check in' again, this time as part of a new 'Sesame Street' mental health initiative

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Sesame Street is creating mental health resources for children, all led by Elmo and The Count.
No items found.

Want to stay up-to-date on positive news?

The best email in your inbox.
Filled with the day’s best good news.