Fix Advice Columnist Katie MacBride Crowdsources Anxy, A Mental Health Magazine

By John Lavitt 10/07/16

Each issue of Anxy magazine will tackle a single mental health topic from a variety of thought-provoking perspectives.

Fix Advice Columnist Katie MacBride Crowdsources Anxy, A Mental Health Magazine
The Anxy Team: from left: Katie MacBride, Indhira Rojas, Jennifer Maerz. Photo credit: Michelle Le

When you take a look at The Fix contributor Katie MacBride’s "Ask Katie" advice column, it makes perfect sense that she would join the diverse team dedicated to crowdsourcing Anxy, a deeply personalized mental health magazine project.

Beyond being a talented writer, Katie offers advice by deeply looking into the shadows and crevices of personal experiences. By digging into the unspoken corners of her own soul, she examines her journey in recovery as a starting point for meditations and inquiries. By joining the Kickstarter project to get Anxy off the ground, Katie is fighting with a group of likeminded creative individuals to foster a forum for the stories that we often refuse to share despite their profound influence over us. 

Photo credit: Michele Le

Although Katie came on board early on, the genesis of Anxy came through the vision and the struggles of founder and creative director Indhira Rojas. For over a decade, Indhira has helped to create cutting edge publications such as The Bold Italic, Modern Farmer, Atlas Obscura and the platform Medium. In an article for Medium titled “I’m Anxy — But I’m Not the Only One,” Indhira describes the secret suffering that led to the creation of the project. She writes:

“I awoke suddenly with a tightness in my chest. It must have been around 3 a.m. I could feel my heart pounding really fast and my mind racing with desperate thoughts. As I lay there, looking at the pitch black ceiling, a question emerged: ‘What am I doing?’…

And suddenly it came to me… I felt worthless.

I was trying to prove to myself  -  to the world  -  that I was worth something. I wanted people to see me. To validate me…

Every day millions of seemingly ‘normal people’ suffer in silence. Whether they are hurting in response to tragic events similar to mine, or other equally impactful experiences, these seemingly ‘normal people’ are riddled with so much pain and shame that, like me, they work hard to make sure no one ever notices.”

Anxy hopes to provide a forum for such unspoken stories, both in the magazine and online, thus allowing the suffering to not only be noticed, but to be shared. Each issue will be centered around a single subject like fear or anxiety, and the magazine will try to present a tapestry of perspectives on it. The goal is to overcome the loneliness of isolated suffering where our most painful stories remain hidden and dangerous.

In an essay about "Trying to Drink the Anxy Away," Katie points out how, “Both addiction and depression thrive on isolation and alienation. They blossom in the depths of loneliness.” 

In response, the new project could be seen as a life preserver being thrown to those people in the depths of loneliness so they can return to the warmth of community. The Anxy creative team hopes to combine a beautifully designed magazine with meaningful content that will help people open up. By creating a space that makes a person feel comfortable enough to externalize their own issues, the dream of the project is to heal the dark silences by building a safe place for communication. 

As Katie expresses with passion, “We want to present a 360° view of these issues, highlighting the shades of gray. We want to challenge the notion that there are two groups: ‘sick’ and ‘well’ and look carefully at all the nuances in between… This is about talking about the things we’re conditioned not to talk about — our feelings, our vulnerabilities, the things that make us wonder if we’re the only one.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.