Journey with Anxiety
An interactive experience exploring the effects of Social Anxiety.

This project was a collaboration with Nathalie Verduin, Joey Docter and Danielle Zwinkels.

About the project: Journey with Anxiety attempts to show what living with social anxiety might look like. It is a short interactive "game" in which the player boards a bus home. While on the bus, social anxiety gets a firm grip on the player and they must attempt to calm themselves down by using the ccontroller we designed.

How did we design this experience? We first set out by gathering as much data as possible from people who suffered from social anxiety in the past or were still suffering from it. Through questionaires and interviews we tried to get to the core mechanics of the most common triggers for their anxiety but also their strategies to try to regain control. The core mechanics we took away from all of this data was that confined spaces with a lot of people was the most common trigger. Bus rides, grocery stores and school settings were all named as triggers. The biggest fear was generally that something "embarassing" would happen. Ergo; accidentally dropping something in the supermarket or being too slow on the bus and having the doors close in your face. Severe anxiety could lead to a panic attack and about 35% of the interviewees noted that they'd experienced a panic attack once (or more) due to their anxiety. During such an attack they mentioned a feeling of "losing control" and having trouble discerning between reality and fear.

The result: We attempted to put these triggers into an experience that'd feel realistic to people who struggle with social anxiety. We wanted to do it justice so that people who don't suffer from it might get an idea of what it is like to live with social anxiety. In Journey with Anxiety the trigger is a busride with strangers during which things do not go as planned. This leads to a panic attack and the player has to try to get through it. The 3D models were designed and made by me and I also designed and implemented the audio in the experience.