Anxiety is bad enough in the best of times—which these clearly are not—and stress about meeting arbitrary reading goals or not having the energy to crack open the newest bestseller sometimes makes reading hard even for a diehard bookworm like me. But even when I’m not up for my usual reading habits, comics are always there. Being able to pick up a comic and finish it in one or two sittings is a real comfort to me. It’s a way to escape, even when I don’t have the energy for more involved reading. Not only that, plenty of comic writers/artists out there have experiences with mental illness of their own. And some of them have brought their love of sequential art together with those experiences to create some incredible comics for people with anxiety. Don’t believe me? Just take a look.
Excellent Comics for People With Anxiety
Fresh off the Vine by Ariel Slamet Ries
A semi-autobiographical webcomic about an eggplant—yes, an eggplant—who’s very good at pretending to be cooler and calmer than they really are. But just like the rest of us, that cool exterior hides a whole lot of anxieties.
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story by Debbie Tung
Introversion and social anxiety amidst a world of extroverts who just don’t seem to understand. Tung’s experiences as a self-proclaimed quiet girl are super relatable.
The Worrier’s Guide to Life by Gemma Correll
Gemma Correll is a worrier—bet a lot of you can relate. I know I can. Especially when she’s drawing random comics and slice-of-life moments about wandering thoughts during yoga, insomnia, hypochondriac tendencies, and befriending the resident animal at social gatherings. Anxiety problems, am I right?
The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures by Noelle Stevenson
Stevenson’s graphic memoir draws from her experiences as a young artist and the highs and lows of finding unexpected success at such a young age. Struggles with anxiety and depression feature prominently, and especially as a fellow creative with anxiety, I really connected with the meaning behind the title: the fire never goes out.
Bird Brain by Chuck Mullin
Mullin’s reasons for choosing to depict her struggles with anxiety as a pigeon alter-ego—that people dismiss and degrade the formerly domesticated bird in the same way her brain often does to her—is too relatable. And her comics are too!
Yao Xiao explores the particular anxiety of being a queer woman in a family and culture that aren’t always understanding or accepting of that fact. Beautiful, twisty artwork follows Yao’s mental journey of self-reflection and acceptance as a young, queer immigrant.
Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun
A little aliebn tries to figure out what exactly it means to be human, but it’s harder than expected. Especially because everyone they talk to is struggling to figure out their own identity issues. Also: none of them are human. Oops.
This comic isn’t explicitly about anxiety, but the worries explored throughout and the care and compassion shown make it a great read for people who know what it’s like to struggle with worries and self-doubt.
Thin Slices of Anxiety by Catherine LePage
Lepage depicts her experiences with anxiety through wonderfully—and sometimes hilariously—accurate illustrations, like a seal balancing a bomb on its nose and a porcupine traversing a room full of balloons. If that doesn’t represent how anxiety sometimes feels, I don’t know what does.
When Anxiety Attacks by Terian Koscik
This illustrated memoir recounts Koscik’s experiences with anxiety and how finally deciding to go to therapy changed her life. Full of honesty and humor, and I’m all for helping people see the immense value of therapy and getting help for mental health issues. Do it, do it, do it.
It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot
The daily struggles of life with mental illness are brought to life with care and hilarity in these comics from the creator of Rubyetc. Elliot brings her signature wry sense of humor, making this serious topic fun to read about.
Anxiety is Really Strange by Steve Haines
A science-based graphic novel depicting the difference between fear and excitement, what actually causes emotions, and generally just how strange anxiety can be. This illustrated guide helps explain how anxiety works in the hopes of making it less scary to actually experience.