What do we talk about
when we talk about Anxiety


  “Anxiety is the most prominent mental characteristic of Occidental civilisation” has written R. R Willoughby in 1935 in Magic and Cognate Phenomena from a Handbook of Social Psychology”.


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”.


What do we talk about when we talk about Anxiety is an 11 minutes documentary that aims to raise awareness around this topic by giving a voice to people who cover the whole spectrum of Anxiety.

Witnessing from the diverse range of symptoms felt during a panic attack to the small symptoms daily experienced that slowly becomes a burden. From the impacts on daily life to the impact on the scale of a lifetime. From the experience with the medical profession to the effects of treatments, and from the gap between other’s perception to self-analysis.

Through these authentic and disarmingly honest testimonies, a more humanised version of the topic arises, bringing a parallel approach to what the medical literature already gives us. we discover questionings, experiences, and reflections that can sometimes seem surprising but still reverberate within us.