What: The Distraction, a disorienting, artful video that captures just what anxiety feels like, at a time when a lot of people are feeling it.
Who: Up-and-coming director Matty Brown.
Why we care: Some people have a natural tendency toward panic, which means that when the rest of the world collectively starts panicking about a pandemic, it feels as though they’re just catching up. But there’s general catastrophizing—fearing and preparing for the absolute worst in every situation—and then there’s genuine clinical anxiety, which is more akin to pre-experiencing the absolute worst in every situation and feeling paralyzed, unable to do anything about it, much less the right thing. People who live with anxiety often have a tough time communicating what it actually feels like to others, which is unfortunate, since a lot of people who don’t live with anxiety tend to ask doubting questions, such as “Why can’t you just think positive and snap out of it?”
At a moment when ordinarily chipper people are finding anxiety in self-quarantine, and a lot of people who already have anxiety are finding it harder than ever to cope, the new short film The Distraction offers some much-needed clarity.
The Distraction is a haunting 10-minute short that alternates between documentary-style interviews about anxiety and depression, and cinematic simulations of what having an anxiety attack actually feels like. The latter scenes take an avant-garde horror-movie approach, with unexpected closeups, spine-tingling sound design, and so many skittering ladybugs. It conveys in a hard-to-shake way how anxiety can make benign things seem terrifying, and make terrifying things seem physically and psychologically unendurable.
Watching The Distraction should either make you feel empathy for what your friends with anxiety may be going through right now, or make you feel less alone if that’s what it feels like for you.
[via Short of the Week]