So, after lots of thorough investigation and research into my previous topic, I hit a road block and couldn’t think of a way I could make a book out of the millions of articles by doctors and anxiety sufferers while still keeping it comprehensive. Perhaps I was even warded off from it because the subject is so taboo? I don’t know. But I’ve come up with a new, more interesting concept. Anxiety as a product. After starting the second studio project, Google Engage, and investigating mental illness representation in the media and how stigmatised having a mental illness is, I thought that maybe it would be an interesting take on it, to make a couple different objects that are directly linked to symptoms of anxiety, as a “product” for people who have no problems with anxiety to have to understand what it is like to be a sufferer. Essentially they wouldn’t exactly serve any REAL purpose in the “physical” realm in the sense of being useful or making the user feel what people with anxiety feel, but more of a thought-inducing project. So, if the user could buy, for instance, an object that represents nausea that a lot of people with anxiety get, they could better understand that it is an actual physical illness as well as a mental one. There’s no real way currently to physically make someone nauseous without a reason (you could feed someone spoiled food or show them something really nasty, but it’s not quite the same as anxiety-induced nausea), so it would just be an object which could make the user think of what it feels like to have this.
I have come up with a couple different options for this, such as nausea, shakiness, headaches, weakness, sleep problems, muscle tension and self-consciousness. They would come in a nicely designed box package along with a “manual”, a publication that would go in-depth about the selected product to provoke the user into thinking about these symptoms and what it would feel like for themselves to have them on a daily basis.
Of course, this project idea has its own flaws, such as who would REALLY buy it? Would people with anxiety have to buy these objects and gift them to people around them for them to understand? That seems a bit over the top and sort of passive aggressive. It needs to be investigated further.